New Work On Wood

I got excited the other day about my recent finds at my neighborhood thrift store…wood plaques.  You see I have been thinking about mounting some of my works on wood to solve the framing issues involved with works on paper and perhaps more appealing to those that want to purchase them.  So I was overjoyed to find something that I could reuse, that was solid, and came in varying sizes.

SO…………I started my first piece, which was pretty fun to make, although it was a bit on the smallish side for me……

Anyway, I learned a whole lot in this process such as:

1. Even though a pen says it is permanent, it is better to test it out…meh

2. Make sure the hole in the back of the plaque is correct with the orientation of the work…duh

3. If you are going to seal your work with varnish, don’t use water-color to paint with, use ink…damn

So I completed it just a bit ago.  It’s not my most favorite piece (I feel like it is a bit too cute…yes?  No??), but it did teach me the lessons above and a few more things.    Anyway, I am excited to try again, this time on a larger format.

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s the work:

Take care and thanks for reading!



New Work: “Wondering What We Are Made Of”

I started this piece the night I found some dear friends had lost their child as a way to connect to them when I could not be there physically.  I began rather spontaneously, thinking about him and what he would’ve been like when he was older, what he would see and experience.  I wondered what he was seeing now, how he saw the world.  I used his curiosities as inspiration and my own wonder of what we are made of to create this piece.

I used a Chinese newspaper and shopping receipts to cover cardboard and then covered it with a watercolor and graphite wash.  After that the papers started to curl and come off, I liked the effect so I decided to leave it.  The drawings are done in graphite.  Here are some details:

With all the positives and negatives happening in the world and in my immediate environment, I am often left in wonder, longing for a simple life, similar to the one I had as a kid, where really the only worry was where I was going to explore next.  Thanks for reading and take care.

What Inspires Me: Self Portraits

Self portraits are a tricky thing.  When I ask my students to do self portraits, many times they get caught up in creating a physical likeness rather than all the other stuff that makes them unique.  Lately I have been asking them to take a more conceptual approach to the self-portrait, and create something that could look like them but focus on capturing the essence of who they are as a human being.

I love this work by Yue Minjun, which looks like him, but in reality it is about so much more, drawing on iconic eastern and western images to create a sort of psychosis on the canvas.

Yue Minjun, Between Men and Animal, 2005

Another favorite of mine, Cindy Sherman, uses herself in her photography, but again the pictures are about more than her physical self.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #56

So what is my point…Well, I think one of the best creative exercises is to reflect on experiences and use them as a means of inspiration.  Lately I have been thinking about the past, especially my childhood, the things I experienced and the adventures I had.  I also have been thinking a lot about my present state of discontent and the excitement of the future, especially the transition home…..

I found some pictures and scraps that I usually hang up around my house, but I just have not done that here in Brussels, but yesterday I decided to go for it.  It was a tremendously cathartic experience and in the end I created my own self-portrait that identifies many of the highs and lows of my life.  I wasn’t really thinking about how or where to put the pictures, I just got caught in the moment and taped them up in a stream of consciences. In the end creating the essence of me rather than a likeness. What I like about this piece is that it is transportable and every time I take it down and put it up it will change and maybe even grow or shrink through time.





I’d like to challenge you to creat your own self portrait, not worrying about likeness, but just focusing on you and consider how you would express what is important to you and about you. It’s a great way to find inspiration for artworks or for writing.  If you do make a portrait, I’d love to see it!

Take care and thanks for reading!


New Work: Mixed Media

This morning I completed a new mixed media work based on one of my previous characters that has shown up in my doodles and in my other mixed media work.

He and his cat showed up during one of professional development days.  Like many people, I listen much better when I can draw at the same time.


I started my mixed media piece by covering some card with paper from the yellow pages and then covered it with this cool wall paint that I found that is a little bit chalky.  I like using telephone paper because of its texture and the way it soaks up paint. After the white paint dried I scratched some of it off and then started putting down thin layers of water-color.

Once I was happy with the surface I drew the boy and his cat using my favorite pen the Staedtler pigment liner (I love these pens!!).  At school we get newspapers to use for whatever purpose and as I was getting some out, I came across these lingerie ads that looked very pop arty and thought one of them would look good on the drawing with the boy.  So I made a tape transfer of it (in another post I’ll explain that process).  I continued with another transfer, the airplane, a light drawing of the blimp, and added some other bits and pieces.  In the end this is what I came up with…

I wanted to create an awkward scene of this boy and his thoughts.  I liked the plainness of the woman and the airplane.  I liked his cat and the possible link that could be made to the woman.  I thought back to a time in my 5th grade language arts class when were learning to use dictionaries.  The teacher asked these boys what they were looking up because they were giggling so much…”Sex,” they said.  Her reaction was: “What would your parents say if I told them that?”  So this is about innocence and how far away we are today from those simple innocent situations that we once experienced.

Take care and thank you for reading!