Monday, March 31, 2014

"grace" for hope shining blue

"Grace"
36" x 48"
this year i've been chosen as one of the 5 artists to participate in Hope Shining Blue in support of Denim Day.  it is a huge event taking place in the Harley Davidson Museum in support of victims of sexual abuse. you can read about how this got started here.

the participating artists are:

1.       Pamela Anderson
2.       Rita Maria
3.       Vanessa KiKi Johanning
4.       Jennifer Espenscheid
5.       Peter Kudlata

i'm really excited to be part of this!! the only requirements for this project were that it had to be no larger than 36" x 48" and we had to incorporate denim in the painting somehow.  the wings on the silhouette are made of denim feathers that i cut out of donated jeans and then painted. it will be put up for silent auction. i hope you like it!!!

here is the statement i wrote for this painting:

There are so many women in our lives that walk around with the secret of sexual abuse.  Maybe it's your friend. Maybe it's your coworker or your sister.  Maybe it's you.  My hope is this painting will bring a different kind of light to these women.  My wish is that when they look at this painting, they could see themselves not as victims, but as women who can overcome tragedy with courage and hope. This silhouette represents the quiet grace of a survivor and the wings of strength she carries with her.




Thursday, March 20, 2014

"calling all artists!"

have you seen my new (new) space? with windows!!!!!!
still in the marshall building just down a couple of floors. suite #315


last weekend at a sabrina ward harrison workshop, i had the privilege to meet and get messy with a group of other creative artists. artists who have the same passion and excitement that i have to create. as i went around meeting everyone in our "sharing" moments, i started noticing a lot of them had something in common. so many of them wanted badly to have a sacred space and time to get lost in making artwork. they just had the same road blocks that many people have when it comes to making time for our passions. life happens and gets busy and it's easy to push those paints and brushes off to the side to look like pretty decor for your dining room. or sometimes just put in boxes with ducktape under the bed. sooooooo i was thinking....

why not invite you all to an entire day of commitment to make art in my studio! this will not be an "official class", but really just a chance for you to come and work on whatever you want. here is the down low:

my studio open to you for an entire day. i provide a space for you to work on your own personal project: a painting you never finished, a journal you want to spill into, a fresh new canvas that you can't wait to start. whatever it is. you bring it in and your own supplies and work in company of other artists doing the same thing. we can all feed off each others energy and just be there for each other when we need another creative eye or a constructive critique. 

my space. my assistance.
your project. your supplies. 

saturday, April 5th 10:30am-5pm (or later if needed)
9:45am for anyone who would like to participate in a self-guided meditation before hand.

marshall building
207 east buffalo st. 
suite #315
milwaukee, wi 53202

snacks will be provided throughout the day. you are responsible for your own lunch at your own leisure. there are many places available within walking distance.

there is a small fee of $25 per person.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"are getting on the train or jumping off?"

photo credits: vivian rad and vanessa kiki johanning

over the weekend i had the privilege of going with a couple of my friends to a class in madison held by sabrina ward harrison (!!!).  this felt like such a full circle moment from when i picked her book up at barnes n noble 17 years ago at really just the start of discovering my way through art, to now feeling a teensy bit more grounded. there were poems being read,  hands and feet gliding through spilled paint, friendly connections, quiet moments of reflection and memorable keepsakes to bring home. i kinda wish i could do it all over again.

photo credits:  vanessa kiki johanning


there was one thing missing that for some people was extremely difficult... uhhh to put it lightly. during this 2 day workshop there was absolutely no phones or cameras to be used at any time. this was a big no-no. which is why i don't have any of my own pictures. the ones you see here are sneaky ones. this wasn't easy for some people. 

it made me think of how differently we as artists create our personal pieces of art. personally, the idea of not having my phone on and being disconnected made me feel free. there was a weight off my shoulders i was happy to put down. i could really just be in the moment and take it all in without the need to share and post. it helped me be present and connected to myself.

photo credit: vanessa kiki johanning


for some of my friends this felt like punishment, which at first i wanted to explain/show how valuable it could be if they just stayed with the experience instead of having that urgent need to cyber socialize. however, i started to see how that being quiet and introverted isn't how all artists get inspired. sharing, posting, tagging, instagramming, facebooking, tweeting, etc. is just the energy some artists need to be creative. 

sometimes we might even seesaw between these two kind of approaches, but it was an eye opener for me to see not everyone feels in tune listening to eckhart tolle, burning incense and closing themselves off to everyone like i do in order to pour themselves out creatively. some just need to hop on that social media train to feel that excitement of connection and to fulfill that need to capture the moments around them on camera.

it's good to be aware of how i work and fulfill that, as well as understand and respect how others need capture their present moments. what a wonder we all are.

my beautiful friend kiki that unapologetically pours unfiltered creativity wherever she goes leaving trails of glitter behind her.





Tuesday, February 18, 2014

needing some rays...

trying to find my groove after being sick. 'tis flu season.

i could really use an extra burst of vitamin d. dreaming of sand in my toes, ocean waves, sunburned cheeks (both!), and sun-kissed hair.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"the truth about inspiration"

there's something about the end of the holidays that makes it feel like winter should be over and spring should just be here already. i can't tell you how wrong it feels that it's still cold and snowy out. we've had so much of it already. haven't we met our quota? i know. it's useless to complain about the weather, but it's what it does to me. it makes me move slow and want to sleep. drink tea. knit. watch girl stuff on tv all day.

somehow, against feeling this way, i've managed to be on top of things, for the most part. gallery night is this weekend and i think i'm in good shape. i've gotten stuff done. i'm going to be honest with you. i don't always want to make art and much less be creative. i know that everyone has this idea that artists are just always oozing with creative juices and flare, but it's not true. sometimes, a lot of the time, i have to push myself, i mean really push myself to make a painting. does this mean i don't like to paint. heck no. i love it! but there are days that i just don't feel like it. for whatever reason. i'm unclear about a new idea i have, i think my stuff sucks, i'd rather be with my friends, i get lonely, i have a ton of other things to do, etc... but it happens.

i love love love being an artist and having this studio that i so appreciate, but i don't want to pretend that i always feel like doing this. HOWEVER, if there is one thing i know is that you just can't always wait for inspiration to hit you over the head. it's so awesome when it does, but in reality you just have to create your own motivation and get excited about things that don't necessarily scream out your name. you just have to push through it and make inspiration happen for you. on the other side of not wanting to do it is discovery, beautiful mistakes and your very own illumination.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. ~ Chuck Close