Blog

Break the rules before you (un)learn them.

Break the rules before you (un)learn them.

If you were once one of my art students, you can preemptively put your finger underneath your jaw and apply a little pressure– just to keep it in place for what I’m about to say.  Most days lately, I go into the studio without a plan or a sketch. Without so much as a...

read more
A whole decade of loving you.

A whole decade of loving you.

It wasn’t easy, the way you came into the world. I started labor on a Saturday afternoon. You were born at 8:03pm that Monday. Your dark, straight black hair covered your entire head and even came over your ears a little. They put you on my chest and I wept. The truth...

read more
A Softer Place to Land

A Softer Place to Land

I was looking through an old journal recently, skimming it for inspiration. What kind of inspiration I was looking for, I’m not sure, but even though I’m not a very consistent journal keeper, I always know I can go back and find some insight you can only get by...

read more
Fresh Air.

Fresh Air.

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” ― Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems   I like painting at weddings. I like performing. I like mixing paint and spreading it on a surface with a knife, and I like what doing it so often has done to my ego–...

read more
I got lost looking at the peacocks.

I got lost looking at the peacocks.

"Leaves a Trail Behind Her" 36x48, oil on canvas I wrote about how I got the title for this painting on instagram back in October. I told the story of how when I was a kid, okay not just a kid, a young adult too, my Dad used to say quite often, "Oh that Denise, she...

read more
My favorite art book: let’s discuss!

My favorite art book: let’s discuss!

Art and Fear was published in 1993. I was twelve years old, and very busy decorating my latest journal with collages of teen heart throbs I’d cut out from drugstore magazines. I wanted to be a talk show host when I grew up. I knew two artists– my mom’s brother and her...

read more
Draw the line.

Draw the line.

What’s something you like that a lot of other people don’t? I was asked this question in an interview recently. It took me a minute, but I landed on cutting the grass. There’s so much I like about it– the smell, the exercise, the heat, the music pouring into my ears...

read more
Watchless.

Watchless.

  “Today” by Mary Oliver  Today I’m flying low and I’m not saying a word. I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.   The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth.   But I’m...

read more
Think like an artist

Think like an artist

  Introduction to Poetry BY BILLY COLLINS I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide or press an ear against its hive. I say drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out, or walk inside the poem’s room and feel the walls...

read more
It’s Just Paint…

It’s Just Paint…

Have you ever had this experience? Someone says something that doesn’t immediately invoke any particularly strong feelings, but then it visits and revisits you constantly? Someone left a thoughtful comment on one of my instagram posts the other day. About my painting...

read more

10 Things Saving My Life Right Now

In my 40th year, I have discovered the joy of lists. I make them on my phone, on scraps of paper, in my sketchbook, and now, here on my blog. Here are ten small things making a big difference in my life right now.  1. The Lazy Genius Podcast. A new discovery for me....

read more
Imperfection + Persistence

Imperfection + Persistence

  This is a backwards “s” painting. I’ll explain. I’ve been having this memory playing on repeat in my mind recently. I was around six years old and reading a book with my dad. I don’t remember the book, only that it had one of those “This book belongs to” pages...

read more
Painting what I once most feared.

Painting what I once most feared.

 "Flew The Nest" 18x24, oil on canvas What do you call a cross between a daydream and a nightmare? Whatever the word is, I had a recurring one when I was a kid. I would often imagine that I had a very rare disease that unbeknownst to me made all my thoughts audible to...

read more

Day 31. Group Effort

"A lot going on in there" 16x20, oil on canvas   I had a good feeling about it, so before I went to bed last night, I snapped a photo of the bud on my orchid plant that looked most on the brink of blooming. By the morning, it had opened. I’m not going to...

read more

Day 30. Finish Lines

"Consider" 6x6, oil on canvas A 5k is 3.1 miles. I like to think of my January as a 5k, and if so, we’ve just crossed mile three and can sprint to the finish. Or laboriously drag ourselves with whatever energy we have left across the line.  I’m somewhere in between....

read more

Day 29. Connections

"Carry your heart" 4x4, oil on canvas I opened the gallery in October, and while I don’t ever have a line of folks waiting to get in every morning, I do have a few people trickle in every day. Oftentimes we’ll get to talking, and it will turn out that we’ve got...

read more

Day 28. Waiting on orchids.

"Waiting on the Orchids" 11x14, oil on paper If you’d looked at my high school drawings, you’d have seen a lot of ballpoint pen eyes. So. Many. Eyeballs.  My Aunt Catherine taught me to draw by teaching me the structure of the human face, and I could run my pencil...

read more

Day 27. Lessons.

"Who Knows What I'll Catch" 11x14, oil on paper I had not been in the classroom since 2012, which is the year the subject of today's painting was born. This past Tuesday I was invited to Pass Christian Middle School to do an art project with a group of fifth grade...

read more

Day 26. Both, and.

  "Mourn and Rejoice" 4x4, oil on canvas January is the longest month. All the others end as soon as they start. But January brings with it a daily painting, and that alone seems to extend it.  I looked at my nine year old yesterday, put both my hands on both his...

read more

Day 25. Room for all

, "Surprise Visitor" 4x4, oil on canvas The tufted titmouse. When I first started getting them in my yard in Covington I was elated. I’d never seen one up close before, and by sheer luck of whatever seed I’d picked at the gardening store down the road, there they...

read more

Day 24. Run this run.

, "A lot on my mind"  6x6, oil on canvas Here’s something that happens a lot on one of those guided runs I do: The coach says, “You may feel like picking up the pace. Sometimes it takes discipline not to go faster even when you you can. This is a recovery run. I want...

read more

Day 23. Sheer delight and gratitude

  "Sheer Delight" 11x14, acrylic on canvas I was working on my first ever painting assignment in college and as the professor made the rounds in the studio, she stopped at my easel and commented that she could tell I had been painting for quite some time. I was...

read more

Day 22. The inside on the outside

"Inside on the Outside" 6x6, oil on canvas One of the reasons I do the 31 in 31 every year is for the gifts. There are always little unexpected connections, joys and insights that pop up along the way. They come unannounced and without fanfare. They feel like...

read more

Day 21. Advice Givers

"Let it Soak in" 5x5, oil on canvas I was painting another one of my wilderness-haired women, trying to decide what kind of bird to put in the brush (still thinking about putting a brass band in there at some point). I usually go for the tiny and cute variety– little...

read more

Day 20. Nostalgia

"Nostalgia" 5x5, oil on canvas Today’s painting is an egret that I painted mostly with a brush but threw in a few palette knife strokes at the end just for kicks. Using the brush again feels pretty good. There’s a touch of excitement in it because the strokes are so...

read more

Day 19. I can relate

"Three's a Party" 4x4, oil on canvas I love body language. I like looking for curves and asymmetry. I like when bodies move like a wave. I’m not musical. I compare it to the people who constantly tell me they can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. My first impulse...

read more

Day 18. Something about context

"In Good Times and in Bad" 4x4, oil on canvas I tried something new. I brought a small 4x4 canvas with me to a wedding I was painting. I’d already prepped it with a magenta wash so it was ready.  Once I’d set up and was waiting for the reception to start, I did a...

read more

Day 17. When your horse dies…

9x12, oil on paper Another little work on paper, this time with the lines from the poem I mentioned in day 5. Not a whole lot to say about it or much else at the moment. I painted at late night weddings both last night and the night before, and, well, I’m just tired I...

read more
%d bloggers like this: