Invisible work

It’s a week of invisible work. I have a number of blog posts in my head but real life keeps me from writing them.

Valentine’s Day is looming and before I could start making I had to do some organizing. So much happened in the jewelry bench drawers and yet it seemed like I spent hours in the studio clearing nothing.

Tools are cleaned and back in their spots.

My high school friend was nominated for the Grammys and I watched as I continued organizing my studio. He won!!!

I will always remember this piece that I dropped mid-bend to take screenshots of the live stream.

I had some fun social time with friends, including visiting Ayla’s amazing $1 sale (ends tomorrow!). Pro tip: Go with a friend so you can split up the strands and get twice the projects!

I am also sofa shopping, and pondering the options, along with debating how big it should be after reading about furniture free living.

For Christmas I gifted myself a craft cart that I had always wanted since spotting it on Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog. I am super excited at how much it stores and worked with box lids to layer the tiers up with project ideas.

There is still a whole lot to be done, but I feel somewhat accomplished.

I also threw some old clothing into my trunk to enable the donation drop-off. My plates were so faded it was high time for new ones, which came in the mail this week. Putting those on is also part of the ‘stuff people don’t see’ list.

On a lovely Saturday afternoon I came upon a twitter gathering.

Then I worked on my closet shelves for a bit. They’ve filled up quite a bit since the closet makeover.

After the Grammys I carved out a space to make some Valentines which are headed over to the Evanston Pop Up Gallery soon.

We’ll see if the big table gets before and afters in the near future.

Finishing collages for my show

My encaustic wire collages are all finished and the March show is hung!


It’s been fun to explore what to make and how and when.


Some substrates lingered while I tried out various ideas and rejected them, and other pieces came together in consecutive sittings.


I repurposed some older pieces into different looks. Adding wire and changing colors gives a whole new perspective. The beauty of encaustic is that you can keep fusing layers on older paint.


While I understand the premise that one must create every day, sometimes you cannot force where you want a piece to go and have to wait for inspiration to strike.


It’s a balancing act to live the artists’ life and take advice about what that life should look like.


I think the key is having discipline, knowing how your personality works, and being realistic about other demands on time.


Pushing too hard to make art can lead to burnout, but not going into the studio regularly will make for a lesser artist.


I find myself missing studio time if I let other things interfere with my rhythm.


It is easy to get absorbed in schedules and obligations, but ultimately the passion that calls you to make art will also force you to do it, or you won’t be as happy.


When my wire won’t bend the way I want it to or the heat gun seems to have a mind of its own and the wax won’t cooperate, I just putter around for a bit and think about what I want to make.


Filling the Creative Coworking wall was a challenge, and I do feel like I should have made more and bigger pieces, but I couldn’t push myself too hard with other things going on in life.


I hope you come by on Friday to take a peek. Melanie Deal’s collages are really cool and I look forward to scrutinizing them more.


Creative Coworking is located at 922 Davis Street in Evanston.

The making of my Edges submission

This summer has been so busy that a deadline on my calendar snuck op on me. I only had one day before submissions were due for Edges, Morpho Gallery’s fourth annual encaustic show. I was part of Wax(‘N)Blue two years ago and always love the way this annual show comes together.


I decided to continue the wire experimentation I had started with Encounters with Language and Communicating Love. With limited time, and knowing Morpho Gallery is a good venue for small works, I used two 5 x 5 inch cradled boards to start my work.


I had already started a layer of medium so I heated that up and evened out the medium layer.

3_Fusing Medium

I cut out the strips of piano scroll I wanted to use for these ‘edgy ‘pieces. Our prospectus stated: “Artists are invited to interpret the theme of Edges. The word “edge” has many meanings. It can be a noun: the thin sharp side of a blade, a brink, place where two surfaces meet, a line or border where a surface terminates – or it can be a verb: to sharpen, to move sideways, to advance cautiously – to name a few. The exhibit is open to artists in the U.S. who work in the encaustic medium.”


I decided to use a chocolate brown for the background color. It took a few layers for it to get the depth I wanted, and I could have added a few more if I hadn’t been pressed for time.


Then I waxed the scroll and layered that on the piece. With more time I would have re-adhered these layers too as it was a bit bubbly, but pressed for time I evened the paper out as well as I could.


Kathleen Waterloo and Kathy Blankley Roman jurored all three prior encaustic shows at Morpho: Hot Wax in the City, Wax(N)Blue and Unbound(ed). Kathy Blankley Roman is an award winning abstract painter. She has studied encaustic with Jenny Learner and Shawna Moore. Her acrylic and encaustic works have been exhibited nationally and internationally online. She has a lot of earth tones in her work and also uses a lot of mixed media, including vintage paper.


I decided to play with masking tape a bit to give my shapes a bit more edge, potentially channeling Kathleen’s work a bit.


Kathleen Waterloo received her BFA in 1996 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Her work is represented in Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington DC, and Portland, and has been exhibited nationally and worldwide. Kathleen uses vibrant colors and geometric shapes in her work. After the masking tape came off I adjusted the lines with a razor and a dentists’ tool.


Then it came time to add the wire.


Morpho Gallery “prides itself in seeking talented artists who are on the cusp of being discovered by the mainstream art community.  We invite local artists to exhibit their work in a creative and non-competitive atmosphere where artistic experimentation and development are encouraged. By creating a blank palette inside the gallery, we offer infinite possibilities for an array of colors, textures and media to come together. Morpho Gallery also offers leasing packages at affordable rates to groups and individuals who wish to stage their own shows.”

It took a bit of hammering and re-bending to get the wire to lay the way I wanted to.


Et voila, two new encaustic pieces were ready for submission.


Pushing the deadline does make for instant gratification. I am thrilled to be accepted into the show, along with FUSEDChicago members Carol Hamilton, Catherine Keebler, Cindy Lesperance, Dan Addington, Joan Moriarty, Karen Tichy, Kari Hall, Kelly Mathews, Laura LaRue, Linda Wein and Pat Lagger. The show also includes Alex Wilhite, Amanda Jolly, Amy Finder, Cate Cormack, Daniel Breslin, Denise Minkler, Danielle Miller, Gina Stanley, Elizabeth Schowachert, Karl Kaiser, Margaret Berry, Melissa Lackman, Naomi Hart, Nicole Prigan, Robin Miller, Robin Tripaldi, Stephanie Green, Susan Dickman, and Wendy Shapiro..


The opening reception of Edges – 4th Annual Encaustic Exhibition is on August 7 from 6 to 10 pm at Morpho Gallery, 5216 N. Damen, Chicago, IL 60625. The show runs through September 6th, 2015.