Monday, September 12, 2011

Blind Contour, Weird Fishies

19" x 24" Acrylic on Vellum Bristol

I don't tend to paint myself very often, so a "blind contour" was a less intimidating way to approach the subject. And luckily as I began to address the issue of background, a good tune came my way...

I can't believe that this is the final week of BIG! I am a little behind due to an influx of design work, so hopefully I can get caught up and share some more painted goodies this week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Daily Sketchbook Pages

I used to carry a sketchbook with me everywhere. As the years have slipped by, that happens less and less. The opportunity to just play, without goal or purpose, is a treat. Last year a very cool art friend and I put together some handmade sketchbooks using cereal boxes as covers and watercolor paper for the pages. Over the last week I finally busted it out to use as a daily art dump. Here's a few of my favorites...

I hope that I can maintain this practice in the coming months even if the larger pieces have to be put on hold.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser

This piece started as an ice cream cone. A blue moon ice cream cone to be exact. It turned into a portrait of sorts but she wanted to keep her sprinkles under the moon.

I felt like I could have kept going forever on this but today she said enough is enough. I'm happy the way I am...

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I am honored to be featured in an absolutely gorgeous treasury this week on Etsy by Genevieve Cseh, featuring paintings and prints with a mythological theme...

Here is the original piece...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going to Sleep

"Going to Sleep" - Phase one a painting based on the memories of my childhood bedroom.

I'm having an utter blast taking part in the BIG painting workshop! And more importantly, I'm actually painting... for myself and for the need to paint, not for any end goal of "for sale" or "for show." It's quite lovely.

One of the most interesting aspects of painting this way is how the paintings evolve on their own. It is a curious process. For example, in the piece seen above, I started simply with the memory I have of a Winnie the Pooh lamp in my childhood bedroom. Other objects insisted on being included... a teddy bear instead of Pooh, a Snoopy humidifier... a closet door, a pillow cover.

After the first day of working on the painting it wanted to rest. I didn't come back to it until today. I just wasn't ready, or perhaps the right elements hadn't surfaced yet. But when I did, it took a turn...

"Going to Sleep" - Phase two. Signed "Jenny" which no one but family and friends from youth call me anymore... seemed appropriate.

Suddenly the memory wasn't just about the cheery lamp anymore. It took on the feverish, trippy feeling of drifting off to sleep as a child with the flu. Hints of happiness and comfort, hints of dark shadows and weird dreams.

I can't wait to see what comes next...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Amoeba Pods

Shapes in space. Inner space? Innerspace? 

This is the first piece that I've painted on the wall in a LONG time. It felt so amazing to move with the brush and begin to feel energy move through me to the brush to the paint to the paper again. I've been painting with small brushes on small paper in a small space in tight control for so long that the contrast feels downright scandalous! And totally natural.

For this piece I ended with chalk and oil pastels over top of the acrylic and tempera paints. I used to utilize them all the time in my large work and diving right in today reminded me of how much fun mixed media can be. It really opens up the tool set.

What I listened to...

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Taking a leap onto the large paper... 35" x 23". Love it!

I'm going deeper into exploring this whole BIG painting journey... and I must say that it's surprising what I'm uncovering. This piece was an exercise that, for me, was a bit difficult. Trying to stay relaxed and in the moment and flowing was not easy for this worked up girl! Interestingly, it was a particularly emotional and tense day (self-imposed of course!) and although the process of painting this large piece was challenging, I have to admit that I feel distinctly better after getting it out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beginning BIG

The scene of the crime.

This is the opening week of a painting workshop that I am taking part in called BIG. Guided by the absolutely amazing Connie Hozvicka over at Dirty Footprints Studio, this workshop is all about getting back to Creative Source, painting BIG and painting FEARLESS. All things that have been missing in my life of late.

Starting out hasn't been fearless at all... in fact, I've been anxious. Anxious to start, but also anxious about what would happen when I put paint to paper again. Can you believe it's been over a year!? Yeah, not cool at all. Maybe that's why I've been so cranky?

However, all that fear and anxiety evaporated when I just let go and the brush hit the white paper. And you know what? The first thing that happened? I spilled green paint all over the palette and paper. It was great! Like the creative muses were determined to break my perfectionism right from the get go. No neat and tidy little plans here, missy!

So how did it all end up today?

Yowsa! It was so much fun I can't wait to get back to brushes...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Undated – Sons and Daughters

There was no date to accompany this photo card but I love the expressions, the grouping and the dress of the woman on the left. It looks almost nautical.

The photo also reminds me of Sons and Daughters by the Decemberists for some reason, hence the title of the post. As I mentioned in my previous post, I tend to build a narrative in my mind when I find images like this, and the Decemberists have a wonderful narrative quality to their music. Enjoy!

P.S. I'm beginning a FEARLESS painting journey beginning soon... you can read more about what I'm partaking in here and here. I can't wait to share with you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1906 - The Manager

The manager ... pour Mr. ??

I have something of an obsession with photo postcards from the turn of the 20th century. There is a hint of mystery in each object, of a story to be told. Given a few extra dollars and time to kill, I often find myself in antique shops scouring for little pieces of others' lives. My imagination gets the better of me as I create all sorts of fantastic stories and adventures to accompany the images. I know that the reality of the images are likely far more banal... but what fun is that?

Vintage photos are also great reference material for painting... I've been known to source them for fantasy portraits in the past.

watercolor, ink and pencil - 2008

Friday, July 22, 2011

No, I said 'ello, but that's close enough!

"Things are not always what they seem in this place... so, you can't take anything for granted."
 Labyrinth is one of my all-time favorites and this scene is a nice way to begin our story here...

Starting a new blog is a lot like starting a new journal, although it admittedly takes a good deal more preparation. Secret Place is more than just a new blog, however – it's a new adventure.  

What can you expect to find here?
• New (and really old) paintings, drawings and curious creations by yours truly
• Mysterious circumstances
• Videos, articles, hand-made finds and links to other items with a fantastic bent
• Some dark, some light
• Photos of people, places and things that inspire a sense of magic
• Memories and nostalgic finds - both imaginary and real
• Books, oh dear, all the books
• Odd and intriguing objects that come across my path
• Surprise twists
• Plenty of geekiness and a fair dose of humor

To start us off on our journey with appropriate recommendations, here are few links to whet your appetite for adventure. 

A Book

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente is about as appropriate a book as I could find to recommend as we begin our journey. It is the tale of a girl (maybe special, maybe not) on a journey in Fairyland. Often compared to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, it is both a fairy tale and a criticism of the same.

The story was originally independently published by the author online as a free web novel. It is still available here, minus the final act, but you can also learn more about the author and view a few curiosities. Be sure to listen to September's Rhyme!

A Song

A Toy 

 And just in case you love the The Labyrinth Worm as much as I do, you can find your very own here