Monday, September 12, 2011

The Return of the Doll Project

There was still so much I wanted to do with The Doll Project, so much I wanted to say, so many dolls I bought on eBay to photograph but never did.  There were so many photos I did take that just did not work out.  Maybe I was waiting until everything was perfect, waiting for the perfect camera, the perfect dolls, the perfect setup and lighting.  Eventually I decided to stop waiting and start taking pictures again.  Here are a few recent ones that I'd like to share.

The new photos show the issue of body image and eating disorders in a historical context.  I have a lot I'd like to say about it and I am thinking of what I will write about it.  Look for it in a future post.  Until then, here are my new photos.

Mia goes on her first diet in 1969 with the help of a book entitled "How To Lose Weight" and a mod container of yogurt.

Mia does not like what she sees in the mirror. She goes on her first diet in 1969 with the help of a book entitled "How To Lose Weight"

Unhappy with her looks, a redhead Dollikin doll looks to modeling sensation Twiggy for "thinspiration."

Unhappy with her looks, a redhead Dollikin doll looks to modeling sensation Twiggy for "thinspiration."

Unhappy with her looks, a redhead Dollikin doll looks to modeling sensation Twiggy for "thinspiration."

You can see more photos from The Doll Project on Flickr, and read about it here on my blog. I hope to shoot more photos for it again soon. Hopefully it won't take me as long this time.

The 2011 Chicago Renegade Craft Fair: Too Much Good Stuff

This year's Renegade Craft Fair in Wicker Park was the highlight of my weekend.  First of all, I'm very happy to report that this year it didn't rain!  It seems like for the past few years I've attended that it has always rained at some point during the time I was there.

This year there were so many amazing artists and artisans selling their goods that I will have to make this a pretty long blog post.  I was glad to see many of my old favorites there, including Jessica Swift, Orangy Porangy , and Dolan Geiman.  All of them have continued making wonderful things and it was great to see them all there.  But now I'd like to introduce you to some new artists.

I'd like to start with Steadfast Bags since I happen to know Emma, one of the artists who designs these sturdy messenger bags. 

This was her first year participating in the show and I wish her all the best.

Another Renegade artist I know is Ryan Kapp, the first Harrington professor who taught me how to render.  I really like his illustrations.

And now for some other artisans of note:


So as you can see, this year's show was incredible.  I'm really looking forward to next year's show.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My October featured Guest Artist: Raquel Stallworth

I've got great news about my open studio next month:  I am featuring a guest artist, Raquel Stallworth.  October is Chicago Artists Month and this year's theme is Artful Networks, so I think that having a guest artist here is fitting.  Here's a little more information about Raquel and some pictures of her beautiful paintings.

Raquel Stallworth has been creating fine art for over 15 years now, although she has not always been exhibiting her work. “Mixed Media” is the best way to describe the materials she works with, paint(acrylic or oil), magazine collage, metallic leaf, balsa wood and colored pencils have all been used at one point in her work.  Also, although not a material, calligraphy elements permeates her work, as she is also a calligrapher.. She is inspired by the visual word, culinary arts, music and dance, nature and other artists, both realist and abstract.  Mrs. Stallworth seeks not only to create both abstract and realist pieces, but to also combine them – this is a process which is continually “in progress”.  The smooth sharp edges of something realistically rendered against rougher edges of splashed color or collage are what keeps her wanting to work, regardless of the subject matter. 
She earned her BFA in Graphic Design from Tyler School or Art in 1990, but didn’t begin any fine art work till the mid-90’s. She still freelances in calligraphy and graphic design also.
Mrs. Stallworth was born in Aberdeen , Maryland, and was raised in rural Maryland, until college when she lived in Philadelphia, PA. Currently, she resides in Chicago, IL and lives with her husband Walter. Her work can be seen at, and on She is also writes a blog, “Easel and Plate” which explores the connection between food and art,

June 23


Second Home

So mark your calendars and keep Friday, October 14th open so you can come by to see and purchase paintings by Raquel Stallworth.  Refreshments will be served and as always, the open studio is free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Gallery Season

So far, the new gallery season has gotten off to a disappointing start.  First of all, the turnout at the Second Friday Open Studios was not that great.  I am thankful for the few people who came by and looked at my work, but I wish I had sold something.  Perhaps it's the economy.  Maybe people are afraid to buy art because they don't know what's going to happen to their other investments.  It's just really frustrating to me because a lack of customers (and design clients and tutoring students) makes my investment in my studio seem like a big waste of money.  Sorry to be so negative, but I am just feeling discouraged and annoyed right now.  I mean, I make these paintings to sell to other people, not to just hang on the walls of my studio and the countless juried shows I have to pay so much money to enter.  Yes, it's expensive being an artist.  At least most of my materials are free.

Since things were so dead around here at the Fine Arts Building, I'm glad I left at 7 to go to the big night of openings in the River North and West Loop Gallery Districts.  As soon as I got off the Brown Line at the Chicago stop, I saw the crowds and thought, so this is where all the art patrons went tonight.  But actually the turnout was less than it has been the previous two years.  It was raining last night, so maybe that explains it.  Maybe it was because I only had 2 hours to see anything, but to be honest there was only one show I saw that truly impressed me.  And that show was the exhibition of Angel Otero's paintings at the Kavi Gupta gallery.

Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog

collaged oil paint skins on canvas
86" x 73" x 2.5"

Seeing these paintings made me feel so inspired.  Inspired enough, I think, to keep painting and not give up on art just yet.  I felt so moved in the presence of this beautiful art.  Seeing it in person beneath the glow of the fiercely beaming gallery lights (Seriously, what's the color temperature in there?) was quite possibly one of the best experiences I've had all week.  It reminded me of what matters to me, of why I make art in the first place, of why I love it so much. 

And just because I love it, that doesn't mean it's supposed to be easy.  So I'll keep painting and keep searching for more and more sources of inspiration.  I will try my best not to let discouragement keep me away from the studio.

And I hope that somewhere in this world there are some buyers and patrons who will dare to defy the trends and the naysayers on the news, who will open up their wallets and purchase art again.  And I hope that some of those patrons will purchase their artwork from me.

Yes, I have to try to find something to be positive about, somehow...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Verdant new painting

sculptural bas relief pod painting in various shades of green. Made of recycled cardboard tubes and acrylic paint.

Acrylic on paper and wood board
20" x 30"

This piece makes me think of a verdant jungle blooming with mysterious forms of plant life. It makes me think of the books I used to like reading when I was 10 or 12 years old about people having adventures in the wilderness and on uncharted islands.

detail of sculptural bas relief  pod painting in various shades of green. Made of recycled cardboard tubes and acrylic paint.

There is something exotic, enticing, and vaguely seductive about it, I think. It was quite labor intensive to create, but I am pleased with the results. A cousin of Fuchsia Sublime, Verdant has the same undulating pod formation. I look forward to creating more pod paintings in other colorways.

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