Ravenswood ArtWalk this weekend!

Time is a’flying, and this coming weekend I will be packing up and putting my wares out at the 13th Annual Tour of Arts & Industry. My booth will be at the Ravenswood ArtWalk Detour in Tent B on Ravenswood and Berteau.


The official Art walk kicks off with a reception on Friday, October 3, 2014 from 7:30 to 10:30 PM at the Ravenswood Events Center, 4025 N Ravenswood (donation of $10 requested). A wide array of artistc vendors will open their booths Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. along Ravenswood and Sunnyside Avenues between Irving Park and Lawrence Avenues. On Saturday, October 4, the main walk will be until 7 p.m. But the detour (food and music) is open until 9 p.m. On Sunday, October 5, the festivities end at 6 p.m.


The Ravenswood Art Walk’s mission is to generate community investment in the artistic, industrial and historic importance of Ravenswood and to raise awareness for the unique hub of creative practices that exists here. Part of Chicago Artists’ Month, this year’s annual Ravenswood Arts Advocate Award Ceremony honors artist Judith Roth. Additional events include a performance by the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra and belly dance group Amaranth.


The Detour features a street fest-style center to the ArtWalk that will feature artists, live music, a craft beer garden, a children’s corner and a food truck roundup. The Ravenswood ArtWalk Detour provides a logical rest and meet-up point where festival attendees can pause, grab a bite and a drink, enjoy some entertainment and then move on to explore the art blossoming around Ravenswood. Come see me on Saturday and/or Sunday, and check out the newbies I’ve been creating just for the walk!


Loving Forget-Me-Nots

“In the Victorian language of flowers,
the forget-me-not means
friendship, loving remembrance and fidelity.

~ Witchipedia

Forget-Me-Nots are my favorite flower, and when they blossomed in May I took oodles of photos.


I had an unfinished diptych laying around so I pulled those cradled boards out and started color-coordinating.


I looked up the healing properties of the flower, as well as some of the lore associated with its delicate petals.


I explored the functions of my new torch and some new colors my friend had gifted me with.


I cut out my flowers and the snippets of information and mixed a color close to their petals.


Laying the pieces out is my favorite part.


“As a knight and his lady walked along the river,
the knight bent down to pick his lady some flowers,
but he slipped and fell into the river and
the weight of his armor bore him down.
As he slipped beneath the water he cried out
~ 100 Flowers and How they got their Names

Then it was time to layer on the encaustic paint. Forget-Me-Nots are named for mouse’s ears (Myosotis), such a cute notion!


I burnished the paper pieces onto the wax.


Forget me Nots do well in full to partial shade and prefer a moist environment. Forget-me-nots bloom in the springtime.


Another view revealed the need for more ‘pop.’


Then I mounted the raised photographs.


I’m submitting these to various places so we’ll see how others love the flower.


Meanwhile, I was gifted with some forget-me-not jewelry for my birthday from my treasury.


The polymer clay earrings came from Romania.


The lovely ring is from Germany and came with lovely packaging and instructions.


I also received a camera ring with an opal stone from my Opal Treasury via Kingwood, where I used to live.


“Forget-me-not can be worn or carried
to keep a lover close to your heart.
Give forget-me-nots to someone
you would like to keep you in mind.”
~ Witchipedia


Fall Bead Bazaar

Ayla’s Beads held a Bazaar in Highland Park’s Art Center last weekend and I could not resist going.


Having learned from the Bead & Button Show, I took a visual inventory of what I had in stock.


I sort of had a budget in mind, but made exceptions for exceptional beads in the 4 rooms of The Highland Park Art Center.


They had a mother-daughter show in full swing, which had some lovely pieces.


Of course the butterfly by Matt Duvin caught my eye.


I turned a corner into a side room to discover Brenda Schweder’s That’s a Jig Booth.


I’m planning on making that my Christmas splurge, and am so inspired by all the pieces Brenda’s friends have created with the jig and a variety of materials.


It was lovely to chat and reminisce about our first meeting at The Creative Connection Event in Minneapolis.


photo by Brenda Schweder’s assistant

I was in such a different place then, and I needed the reminder this particular week that you are never stuck in the present.


I was reminded that people you meet and classes you take can lead you down paths you don’t anticipate at that moment, but do help you pursue what you are meant to do over time.


Silk Road Treasures had a wall of beads.


I was thrilled with Dakota Stones, which was one of the busiest booths at the show due to its amazing array of gemstones. String a Strand had some awesome beads and findings as well.


The handmade glass beads intrigue me, and I got a small starter set to play with from Diane Tarullo before delving into this.


I had a lovely chat with glass artist Sheila Papaioannou and her husband.


I am inspired by their designs as well.


I splurged on some ring bling from Ayla’s booth, which is so inspirational.


I look forward to taking a steel soldering class there next month that might help me create a pink ring of my own.


I look forward to creating pieces with all these new inspirational, healing and cheerful pieces, and cannot wait to show them to you.


My Shopping quota has been reached for now too, unless I sell loads of pieces at Ravenswood Art Walk October 4 & 5!

Wine for Charity

Last Thursday Evanston had two ‘block parties’. One was the official ‘Kits, ‘Cats and Kids Block Party for which the town is painted purple.


The Northwestern University and Evanston Township High School Marching Bands performed in call-and-answer style prior to a pep rally for the NU and ETHS football games to be played that weekend (the Wildcats and Wildkits).



The Block Party is sponsored by the City of Evanston, Northwestern University, Downtown Evanston, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, Evanston Township High School, and Evanston/Skokie School District 65.


After the band finished, I moved on to Vinic Wine which was hosting a charity wine walk along Chicago Avenue and Dempster Street.


26 local businesses poured tastings of French wines or offered munchies.


We received 8 tickets for $15 to sample these goodies, of which proceeds benefited No Boundaries & The Evanston Art Center.


I admired Kier of H(om)e’s new decor.


I had stopped in earlier when the boutique had just opened, and the doors add so much warmth.


This boutique is so inspiring and I will have to add one of their gorgeous purses to my Christmas wish list.


The new Cooked and Homestead Meats & Deli were pretty crowded and I heard their tastings were delicious.


Dragonfly was also filled to the brim.


Antiques and second-hand stores abound.


Paramour Bungalow is an inspiration in decor and gift-giving.


It was a great way to visit stores I don’t usually set foot in, and see the new Hewn parklet.


I perused the No Boundaries art exhibit next door.


At No Boundaries, people with and without disabilities learn and build skills in a real workplace setting.


Located in a new tech site in a thriving Evanston business district, it’s the perfect place for transitioning teens and adults with disabilities to learn workplace and community skills including communicating, self-organizing, and self-advocating.


Window-looking was fun too.


As I made my way back to Chicago Avenue I bumped into a friend and we wandered the streets together.


I don’t frequent Lollie but it has lovely children’s gifts.


The Frame Warehouse has another art exhibit up.


Hand Me Downs is another children’s goods store with a fun fire truck my brother would have enjoyed 35 years ago.


Four Finches is a lovely detour off Dempster.


It has an adventurous entrance.


They have more than Four Finches in a cage, and their floral shop is filled with delicious gifts and scents.


SqueezeBox is always fun to peruse.

Wine was flowing freely at each stop. Soapie’s closed the event down.

They had an awesome bottle opener I want to track down.


We had so much fun that we missed the champagne at Christopher Duquet.


It looks like there are more neighborhood adventures to come.


I love this town.

Establishing a fitness routine

In May I joined Hip Circle Studio to develop more of a fitness routine.


Because winter was so long and my social life had me attending numerous potlucks and barbecues my summer clothes remained snugger than last year and I knew I wasn’t naturally walking and stairmastering  the winter padding off like I had in past years.


I started with CardioBelly, which promptly got me recruited for the Custer Street Fair flashmob. After a 6-year hiatus from bellydancing, the moves are still a bit rusty, but they do come back with practice.


For a bit more toning I added Moxie Boxing to my routine, which is a fun class of kicking and throwing punches while holding small weights in your hands. No gloves required.


Right after my birthday I was talked into sampling Kettlebell AMPD, but that workout is still a bit intense so I am going to give that another whirl after my body has adjusted more to the other muscle moves I put it through. This one session did happen to be picture day, so I am a poster-child for the time being.

KettlebellPosterChildphoto copyright Hip Circle Studio

We get stickers after each class and thus far I have attended two fun fitness parties that serve as a reward for filling a card with 5 stickers. Each party features a local business and offers a fun activity.


When the studio went on summer break I dug up my jump rope and purchased a matching pair of shoes (and pants that didn’t shimmy down) to motivate me to jump by the lake.


Initially I stumbled through 5 minutes, but after a month of thrice-weekly intervals I am up to 8 minutes of jumping with occasional zen moments of no tripping for a minute or 2.


I hope to keep it up as the weather cools down (possibly in the laundry room, which won’t be near as scenic).


To warm up I do some of the floor exercises at home that we do in class as well, and on rainy non-class days the Bikini-ready Fast DVD comes out, which I can complete much easier now.


When I picked that up years ago I tended to shut it off at 15 minutes from exhaustion. The home workouts are only 20-30 minutes, but still make me feel better than if I just rolled out of bed without any movement.


My arms feel more toned and I know I have more stamina to walk. I haven’t dug out the scales from my closet because I still believe in Alexandra Jaye’s notion, but I will be monitoring the skinny pants waistline on a monthly basis.


This coming month is all about nutrition, monitoring the ratio of my veggie intake vs. carbohydrate intake, which I know needs to be reversed. Even if I don’t go back to the ‘skinny’ size again, I know being healthy and fit makes me feel better about me, and gives me more energy to enjoy the rest of my life.


You can peruse Hip Circle Studio’s schedule at www.HipCircleStudio.com. Zumba is fun too, and every class is filled with lovely women, empowering words, and fantastic playlists. Who doesn’t like to break a sweat to “I’m Sexy and I know it”?



“Creating beauty
is one of the highest
and most healing purposes we can pursue.”
~ Trenton Tully in True Balance by Sonia Choquette


When I took Shawna Moore’s workshop I learned how to use a butane torch, and loved it. After some research I purchased the Iwatani Cooking Torch, but then never got around to buying the canisters, until earlier this year.


At that time I also ordered the MSA Safety Works 817662 Paint and Pesticide Respirator Emily Rutledge recommended during a FUSEDChicago discussion.


The respirator is surprisingly lightweight. Adjusting the filters was a challenge initially, but in spite of their lopsided position it was easy to work with the mask on.


Hearing myself breathe made me feel like Darth Vader, but over time I got used to it, and even forgot that I couldn’t just take a sip of water without taking off the mask.


The pigmented beeswax gives off emissions that aren’t healthy to breathe on a regular basis (especially the toxic jeweltones I love most), and with the weather turning cooler the ventilation of fresh air will become more of a challenge, so it is good to protect one’s lungs for time-consuming projects.


I practiced with an old piece from my UTEE days that needed an update.


It took me a little while to sort through the gun’s functions, but once I read the directions properly I got the big torch to work.


I still toggle back and forth with the smaller one and a heat gun as I get the hang of its fire power.


This is a lovely video explaining the difference between what heat sources do to the wax.

I worked on a damselfly diptych.


The palette quickly became darker as I needed to cover up some errors.


Layering and incorporating meaning is always fun.


Not burning the paper was another learning curve.


The Ebony Jewelwing photos are from my Utica retreat.


I am still not sure of the proportions of the photos, so it may get a re-do later this month.


Another diptych helped me practice some more.


Meanwhile, 2 of my desktop minis were sent off to a new home, so I will be working on more small works later this month.


“I want to share my work and
give as many people as possible the experience
of living with a piece of art,
even if that piece of art is a print and not necessarily an original.
… I would hope
that when somebody looks at my work they smile,
they feel a good energy and they get excited.”

~ Romero Britto in Art Calendar November 2009

Butterflies & Blooms visit

About two years ago The Chicago Botanic Garden implemented Butterflies & Blooms on its grounds.


From late May to Labor Day, the garden has a tent that houses numerous exotic butterflies for the public’s viewing pleasure.


It is a great way to get up close with these magical creatures.


Morphos were abundant this year, and their fluttering always makes me catch my breath.



They hardly open their wings when at rest, but in this enclosure, we were fortunate.


The leafy butterflies offer lessons on camouflage.


A Luna Moth drew gasps from many viewers.


Longwings abound.


Emerging butterflies can be viewed through a window.


Atlas Moths were featured early in the season.


So many jewels in the sky.


Pops of color everywhere.


It is a lovely respite from daily life.


The reactions when they alight on visitors are lovely.


Some provide lessons on the circle of life.


I love strolling and circling and waiting for them to settle.


Butterflies always give me a sense of awe and peace.


The tent is gone until next year, but you can still view butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.


From the Fire Pit: Glimmers opening

Lauren and Rory Coyne do a lot together, and so it is with exhibits. On the heels of Lauren’s Wolf Peach Opening Friday night, Rory Coyne opened his solo show at Galerie Fledermaus on Saturday.


Rory’s inspiration for the show comes from the fire pit or hearth as a gathering place.


“It’s not just the fire itself, but what it provides: a place to gather with family and friends and the perfect situation to talk and dream. Stories are born here, histories told, and heritage handed down masked in allegories, myths, and grandiose creatures,” said Rory.


From the Fire Pit: Glimmers features oil paintings by Rory that morph gorgeous human beings into furry creatures, creating mythical characters that could spin stories of their own. Detailed photos of the paintings can be found here.


“The light of the blazing fire
combined with the dark, gloomy shadows by the hearth
to transmit sharp contrasts,
shaping the expectations of listeners and inspiring the tellers.”
~ Maria Tatar, Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore
and Mythology at Harvard University


Rory said he is “discovering my characters and revealing them one by one stripped from any surrounding in order to focus on just them. They will grow and mature, and take part in many sagas. Some already have, some have just come to be, and many have yet to come to life. They are the sparks that start the fire, a glimmer of what’s to come.”


Galerie Fledermaus specializes in Symbolist works from Germany, Austria, France and Italy 1880-1920, and contemporary figurative artists.


It is a joy to peruse the Klimts and other wonderful art works.


I want to learn more about Koloman Moser.


In addition to paintings and prints, Galerie Fledermaus also offers vessels, and other art deco pieces. This box is a treasure even without anything inside of it.


Rory may host another event before his show closes on September 28. So swing by 2136 W North Avenue in Chicago soon.


In October, Jason McPhillips will reveal his latest works in his Ghosts series, from October 3 through November 2.


There were some fabulous outfits at the show.


Rory’s trademark, an axe, was incorporated in his ensemble.


Lauren is always stunning.


My reflection snuck into some photos accidentally.


Go peruse the gems at Galerie Fledermaus. I’ll see you there October 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.


Streets Alive Evanston

We had a big block party on Sunday. Main Street between Dodge and Hinman were transformed into a pedestrian mall from 1 to 6 p.m.


The roads were blocked to motor vehicles and an impromptu bike path established.


The blocks were lined with booths providing information about various Evanston organizations. Along the way, various musicians, street artists and dancers gave performances.


Children could play various games and get in touch with their artistic side. Open Studio Project offered painting a skyline made from boxes.


Streets Alive! began as an initiative of Walk ‘n’ Roll, one of the project teams that emerged from the Evanston150 visioning process. The mission of Walk ‘n’ Roll is to make Evanston safer and more enjoyable for walking and cycling.


After a successful pilot project on Dempster Street in 2013, Streets Alive! was adopted by Citizen’s Greener Evanston, resulting in this year’s Main Street event. A list of all participating organizations is hereHip Circle Studio held belly dance demonstrations.


Later the troupe performed and then offered a demonstration in which each member of the circle could add their own move to a round-robin impromptu choreography.


A Klezmer duo greeted us as we made our way to Piccolo Theatre.


We took in the matinee of SMASH, which is a wonderful show worthy of attending.


Unfortunately the event came to an end just after we finished laughing, so we imbibed in some lovely food from S-Paragon.



It was quiet and peaceful without cars around.


I look forward to next year’s event and getting to know another street in Evanston.


Wolf Peach show opening

Friday marked the opening of Lauren Levato Coyne’s Wolf Peach show at Packer Schopf Gallery, which shows through October 18.


Lauren’s second solo exhibition with Packer Schopf focuses on the ideas of poisoning and her continued thoughts on death via her largest and most elaborate drawings to date.


She has been thinking a lot about poisons and their impact on the physical and mental health of generations.  Wolf Peach’s subject matter has its root in the impact of death from diabetes, cancers, and prolonged exposure to poison.


Her drawings reference man made poisons such as Agent Orange, processed sugar, and alcohol, as well as nature’s toxins like nightshade, venom, and Monarch butterflies. She also alludes to false poisons, such as the once firm belief that tomatoes were a fatal fruit.


Per her press release: “Levato Coyne’s drawings are paralinguistic symbolist portraits and still lives. Their linguistic structuring is divorced from linguistic content; meaning is indicated, but encrypted. Each drawing begins with an interior narrative rooted in personal history: a family ejected from the American South that took with them many of the curious beliefs and habits of the Appalachian Mountain Kingdom.”


“The animals and colors in Levato Coyne’s drawings are therefore influenced by the storytelling and imagery of fairytales and wives-tales, as well as medical and zoological antiquity, and farming.” Appropriate for this insect-lover, a fly landed on one of her drawings.


You can view detailed images of Lauren’s drawings here.


Two other artists opened solo shows the same night, Teresa James whose cyanotype/drawings deal with religion and faith in Not All Angels Have Wings.


A specialist in intaglio printmaking, Teresa James integrates drawing, photography, computer-generated imagery, and 19th-century photographic processes. Not All Angels Have Wings represents the culmination of her experiments, into large-scale cyanotypes.


James’ works are inspired by Catholic iconography, the Italian Renaissance, Mexican Surrealism, and American folk art. “James’s friends and their pets are revealed as agents in the eternal battle of good and evil, their heroic spirits armored or winged.”


“Behind these works lie other invisible struggles: the artist’s painstaking labor to balance the generative forces of nature, man, and machine, and the soul’s resolve to manifest optimism and grace in the face of life’s trials. At their core, these are portraits of faith, bathed in a celestial blue.”


Ellen Greene’s painted gloves and mixed media pieces of “You’ll never be my bride: ballad of the sweetheart murder” explore murder ballads through images inspired by vintage tattoo and folk Americana icons painted onto delicate vintage leather gloves. Per Greene, “Murder ballads are an American (Appalachian) folk song sub genre that has their roots traced back hundreds of years ago to Ireland and England. They describe murder and betrayal often between two lovers played against a simple melody.”


Sung by a third person or from the voice of the murderer–often in a waltzing 3/4 time–many of these ballads are based on true crimes stories with historical documentation. The love interest is lured to a dark place–woods or a body of water–where she begs for her life and the life of her unborn child.


The gallery will host a reception in conjunction with EXPO Chicago on Friday, September 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. In October the gallery will host a Death Panel featuring all three artists, who serendipitously all wound up making work relating to death.


Of course Lauren was dressed to the nines.


As was her husband, whose show opening followed hers on Saturday evening.