In the Studio | House Portraits

I delivered another house portrait to a client this week! Such fun. I consider my house portraits to be little painted love letters. These homes shelter the hopes and dreams of the inhabitants and my goal in rendering them is to honor those dreams. They're are painted in acrylic on high quality archival paper, and they're usually commissioned to commemorate a new home, or sometimes even the selling of a home.  Learn more about my house portrait commissions HERE.

Settling Into My New Studio

It's been crickets here on the blog. I've been single-mindedly moving into my new studio and prepping for my upcoming solo art show. As of this week, I'm all moved into the studio. I cannot quite express the feeling of having my very own space. It has been delicious. Yes... delicious is the word.

Tomorrow, I'll be loading in my exhibition at the Horizon UU Church in Carrollton, TX. But tonight I thought I'd check in here at La Maison Boheme and share some snap shots of the studio and some of the paintings that are part of the show. If you're in the Dallas area, please come see the new work! The church is hosting an artist reception for me on Sunday, May 28th from 2-3pm. Its open to the public and you can read all about it HERE

Going Solo

One year ago this month, I joined forces with my friend, Jay Bailey and moved into a beautiful industrial studio space in Deep Ellum, Dallas. It was a dream come true. I was finally out of my house with space to grow. And guess what? I grew.

I'm so grateful for Jay's company, his guidance, and his generosity. He helped me to grow my business and get clear about the way in which I want to work.

After much consideration, I'm taking another leap of faith by going solo. Today, I signed a lease on my very own studio space. I'm still at the Continental Gin Building on the 3rd floor, but now I'm down the hall in my own 467 square foot studio. What a thrill!

Here are some photos of the empty studio. I'll do some cleaning in the week ahead and then start moving in! I can't wait to share photos and updates as I make this huge transition. Thanks to everyone here at the blog who has supported my work over the years. And also gratitude to my patrons on PATREON. I'm so grateful!

8 Must Haves in the Studio

It was almost a year ago that my studio mate asked me to share a space with him at the Continental Gin Building in Dallas. Before that time, I created a studio space in my own home. Having my own dedicated studio, separate from my home, has been revolutionary for my art practice. When I sit down to work now, I'm more focused. I'm able to approach the work with greater clarity. And when I'm painting, I can completely disengage with the narrative of wife, mother, house-manager, schedule-keeper... it all just fades away because I am literally in a different space.

Now that I've been in my studio for 11 months, I've become dependent on a few key elements. For some artists, they need a certain amount of light or square footage or a particular kind of brush. Today, I'm going to outline some things that have become my "must haves" in the studio.

1. White Walls

I only have a couple of windows in my studio and they are covered with vining foliage, so to better reflect the natural (and artificial) light in my studio, I think white walls are best. 

2. Storage

I like to keep things tidy in my studio. I work quickly and I like to have all of my tools within reach. I don't have a fancy set up like the one below, but I'd like to!

3. Rolling work space

The table legs pictured below are from Ikea and they are the same ones I use in my space. All artists need a workspace, but it also needs to roll out of the way for studio visits, classes, and art openings. Putting your work table on wheels is the easiest way to accomplish this.

4. Task lighting

My studio, while well lit, doesn't always fit the bill. I use clamp lights and swing arm lights to illuminate spaces on the fly. My studio mate also uses this kind of lighting to light models when he hosts figure drawing classes in our studio.

5. Protective clothing

I am a super messy painter. I spatter and drip and use my fingers and wipe my hands on things. So, I need protective gear. I use good old fashioned canvas aprons while working in the studio. 

6. Golden Acrylic Paints

I work almost exclusively with Golden Acrylic paints I like both the fluid and heavy bodied paint textures. My favorite colors are always on hand.

7. Dark accent wall

I know, I know. Number 1 above was white walls. But I also like having one dark wall to provide contrast for my artwork. I like placing my work on a dark wall for perspective. I have one black wall in my studio and I love it!

8.  Space to hang my work

Its also really important to me that my studio be a place that clients and students can visit and view my work. I don't need a ton of wall space, but I need at least one clean white wall to display my work. Here's a shot of my display wall in my studio.

A Video About Art Commissions & Process

I just completed a commission for a family who was interested in creating an image of the Milky Way over a mountain pass. They enjoy hiking and getting outside - so I began thinking about the kind of vistas only available to those who seek out isolated and wild spaces. I wanted the piece to match my client's vision, but also to evoke the mystery of a night sky and the luminosity of a deep starry night. Here is the completed piece:

Last month I launched my PATREON page as a way of staying better connected with my community and my supporters. One of the perks of being a patron of my work via PATREON is that I share patron-only posts and deep-dive videos about my art process. My patrons pledge a certain amount per month and also receive art care packages, invitations to art events and more! 

For the piece above, I decided to film my first day of painting to share with my patrons. If you like the video below and want to see more like it, please come join me via PATREON


In the Studio | I Work In Layers

I paint in layers. And recently, a client who was watching me paint asked that I stop after the first layer because she liked the way it looked. I had just started, but to her eye it was finished. I had to agree with her.

My first layers are always highly intuitive and tend toward the abstract. It's mostly a simple combination of color choice and line quality. So I thought it would be interesting to share the four layers of my last painting so that you can see what happens in each stage.

With the second layer, I like to cover more of the canvas with color. And I also like to come in with white paint and block out some of what I painted in the first layer. I also start to use my fingers in creating the little circles of paint that show up in most of my paintings.

In the third layer, I like to come back with some of the colors from the first layer and build up the structure of the image I'm creating. I also add details that appear in the foreground - if there are any such objects.

And the final piece usually includes all of the little finishing touches and detailed mark making that help to bring my vision for the work into focus. Sometimes this means calming the piece down with lighter colors to create a sense of space or sometimes it means adding more marks. (I'm a hopeless maximalist when it comes to pattern.)

Here is a detail shot of the lower part of the painting.

Here's the original photo I used as inspiration for the painting. 

Oh... and surprise! I made two!

Investigating the Muse

I've been a painting machine these past few weeks. And I've been thinking about the nature of "inspiration" and the concept of "muse". Of course I'm familiar with the nine muses of Greek mythology. I remember as a young woman praying the to goddess Erato, the muse of lyric poetry, while writing a letter to someone I loved. I mean, how was I going to be persuasive, if I didn't invoke the muse?

I think every artist (writer, musician, etc) has their own muse. And at the rate that I've been working lately, I wondered if my muse might be tired of me. I began to think of her as overburdened, weighed down. So she showed up in a painting this week.

But no... I've changed my thinking about my muse. I don't think inspiration is exhaustible. I think more is better. One thing begets the next and begets the next and the next. There is always more to draw from. The artist need only show up for the moment, approach her canvas, and invoke the muse. Showing up is my responsibility. What comes next belongs to the muse.

The painting below is available HERE.

You can see some footage of me painting this piece in the video below:


New Work & Art Influences

My work often looks like other people's work. And I'm okay with that.

I am influenced by everything I read, see, hear and experience. But I'm also heavily influenced by other artists. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I think its the nature of the process. Nothing ever happens in a vacuum. Everyone has influences.

Some of my influences include Expressionists from the beginning of the last century: Pablo Picasso, Franz Marc, and Paul Gauguin to name just three. My influences also include modern abstract expressinists from the midcentury period: Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, collage genius Conrad Marca-Relli, and in her own category, portraitist Alice Neel. I also love the work of my contemporaries like Michelle Armas, Cecily Brown, Jenny Andrews AndersonMarta WhistlerGwenn SeemelFlora Bowley, Jackie Leishman, and most recently my studio mate Jay Bailey. The artworks created by these lovely people are always a part of my inner landscape.

These artists are all very different from each other. But they all end up in my own work in one way or another. Every time I step to the canvas, I feel them with me in some small way. This gives me courage. Am I borrowing from them? Absolutely. Am I copying their work? Absolutely not. I understand it as a time-space-warp-dialog. They are my helpmates.

Here is my latest piece from the studio. The image is from a live model I sketched two weeks ago during Jay's bi-monthly Drawing Club. Its entitled "Liminal" - 36 x 36 inch acrylic on canvas.

With this post, I simply wanted to acknowledge that I come from a 
lineage of art makers who keep me engaged and seeking as I make my own work. 
I am always filled with gratitude that I live in a world filled tip-top with art.

Who are your influences?
Who keeps you hungry and engaged?


Last night I attended another live drawing session with my studio mate, Jay Bailey. I cannot express how much I love drawing from a live model. It's really a beautiful and rare experience. When I started, a few months back, I had absolutely no training with the human form. But I'm starting to get a handle on it - mostly by watching the other artists in the room render the same model in such different and effective ways. Here are my best three from last night's gathering:

You can see the progression of my work HERE.

In the Studio | Work in Progress

I've been having a difficult time processing the presidential election and inauguration. So, my prescription for handling anxiety, disappointment, and fear of the future is to paint and to read. Ive been in the studio all week working on the lovely ladies below. These pieces are still in process and part of larger compositions. I've also been reading "Meditations", by Marcus Aurelius. Both are helping.

New Work | Uprising

We have a big week ahead of us. The Inauguration is tomorrow. Then on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of women and men are expected to attend the Women's March on Washington. Thousands more will join them in smaller marches around the country.

Are you going to the march? I really wish I could go. But since I can't, I'll be supporting the effort in other ways. It is in the spirit of solidarity with those marching that I painted the piece below. Entitled "Uprising", it's painted on a 24x24 inch canvas in acrylic.

Stay safe.
Stay strong.
And know that we're with you!

Paris 1904 | Dallas 2016

What does turn-of-the-century Paris have to do with me? Not much really, except that the gang of modernist artists that inhabited the ramshackle studios of Montmartre at that time are a source of endless inspiration to me.

I've been re-reading an out-of-print book entitled The Adventurous World of Paris 1900-1914 - a delicious way to spend my holiday reading time. I picked it up about 10 years ago at a thrift store in Seattle, while studying the Art Nouveau era.

Pouring over these art narratives reminds me that my little studio at the Continental Gin Building in Dallas has an exciting lineage. And while I don't think that I'm on the brink of a fresh new art movement, I know in my bones that my work is a descendant of the Belle Époque era.

Below is a photo from 1904. It depicts art pupils in the Paris studio of the popular painter Adolphe Bougereau. Their model is on the far left, standing on a makeshift wooden stage. And the wood easels, a design that has changed very little since its inception, are peppered throughout the space.

My studio mate, the talented figurative painter Jay Bailey, hosts a recurring drawing club in our studio. This is a time when our art community comes together to practice drawing and painting from life. Our studio was built in 1888 - 25 years before Picasso lands at the Lapin Agile in Monmartre. Below are some photos from our most recent gathering. 

Below is a photo of the famous Lapin Agile located in the centre of the Montmartre district in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, behind and slightly northwest of Sacre Coeur Basilica. This cafe and cabaret was the favorite haunt of artists like Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire, Utrillo, and so many more. 

Deep Ellum, the Dallas neighborhood that houses my art studio, is also home to countless cafes, cabarets, music venues, avant garde theaters, and underground nightlife spots.

Both neighborhoods also have a long history of amazing public art and mural work. The rabit on the left was painted onto the walls of the Lapin Agile. And the owl on the right is one of 46 public murals in Deep Ellum. 

The similarities continue. Below is a photo of Le Bateau-Lavoir, a dark and dirty building that housed many live/work art studios during the early 1900s. Picasso had a studio here for a year or so. Le Bateau-Lavoir means "the boat wash-house", a name was coined by French poet Max Jacob (a friend of Picassos).

The building was described as scrap pile rather than a dwelling. On stormy days, the building swayed and creaked, reminding people of washing-boats on the nearby Seine River, hence the name. The structure was a manufacturing facility in the previous century.

Like Paris' Bateau-Lavoir, Dallas' Continental Gin Building was once a manufacturing warehouse, both became the creative home to many of the city's artists, and both have three floors of open studio space. Below is a photo of the Continental Gin building, which houses the studios of sixty Dallas artists.

The other similarity is that both Monmartre and Deep Ellum have a tall iconic structure. The windmills of Montmartre and the water tower of Deep Ellum have become the architectural mascots of these two art-centered neighborhoods. Below is a photo of the slope of Paris' La Butte crowned by the Moulin de la Galette.

Below is a photo of the water tower, which overlooks the Continental Gin Building and Deep Ellum beyond. It's one of the most photographed structures in the neighborhood. 

Are you interested in joining my studio mate, Jay Bailey for "Drawing Club"? CONTACT Jay Bailey for upcoming dates. Are you interested in a studio visit? CONTACT me and let me know. Want to know more about the Montmartre Mob of and the birth of the Modernist art movement? Here are some great titles for your reading list:

And to better understand Paris' turn-of-the-century art scene, here are some other titles:

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Or just read the works of writers who were in Paris at the beginning decades of the 1900s:

Anais Nin
Marcel Proust
Gertrude Stein
Rainer Maria Rilke
Ernest Hemmingway
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Langston Hughes
Edith Wharton
Tristan Tzara
Andre Gide

Figure Drawing

I majored in literature and theatre and missed out on any sort of formal art training. That is why it is with great curiosity and excitement that I am attending ongoing figure drawing sessions with my studio mate, Jay Bailey. He is hosting a series of artist gatherings where attendees sketch with a live model for a three-hour spell. He calls it "Drawing Club", which I love because who doesn't want to be a part of a club? So far we don't have any secret hand shakes, but our studio has definitely become the club house.

Last night we turned up the space heaters and 10 artists showed up after dark practice this long-standing tradition of figure drawing. We are of varying skill levels and Jay, who leads the session, is able to offer instruction when and if it is wanted. It's super chill and so much fun. If you're in the area, you should join us! Find out more about it HERE.

Here are two of my pencil drawings from last night:

And here are a few paintings from last night.
I used a Japanese style brush and black high flow acrylic paint. 

New Work | Don't Interrupt the Sorrow

The piece below was born of a demonstration I started in my workshop last week. During the workshop, I began three canvases to give my students a peek at the multiple ways in which I start to cover the canvas and create a piece of art. I work in layers and wanted to show my students that its okay to cover what you've already made. I also wanted to show them how transitory a piece of art in process can be. As my friend, Jay Bailey likes to say, "Art is all about choices". 

So in addition to the finished product, I've included a photo of the first three layers of this painting, which were completed in front of students in my workshop. "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" is 30x30 inches on stretched canvas and available in my SHOP

Don't Interrupt the Sorrow  |  36 x 36 inch acrylic on canvas  |  Available HERE

BELOW: The first three layers of the painting above.

Early Winter In the Studio

It's official. Winter has finally landed in Dallas. My studio mate hauled out the space heater this week to keep our shared working area nice and toasty. I made immediate use of it this weekend by hosting 5 students for an abstract art workshop.

Now that the pace of life is slowing and the usual din has become quiet, I am able to spend more time (oh, delicious time) in my studio. Here are some snap shots from the studio this weekend.

Below is the interior of the front door to the Continental Gin Building.

The view from our 3rd floor studio foyer.

The view from my studio window.

The view from our seating area - Jay Bailey's massive work hanging in the background.

Set up for my weekend art workshop.

In The Studio | Tour & New Work

Today, I thought I'd share a quick tour of our studio space at the Continental Gin building in Deep Ellum, Dallas. The space has evolved quite a bit in the past few months. We still have a lot of work to do to bring it up to speed, but my studio mate and I are happy with the size and functionality. It's been a dreamy place to work. 

I have a small 100 square foot room in which to paint. It's perfect for me and I love that I have two windows - each shedding light from different directions.

Pictured below, is our communal teaching space, 
which is currently filled with the work of my studio mate, Jay Bailey. 

Here's a glimpse at some of my new work:

Fire Fall, 36 x 36 inch acrylic on canvas - available HERE

Infinite Expectation of the Dawn, 24 x 24 acrylic on canvas - COMMISSION

Lucid Dream, 18 x 18 inch acrylic on canvas - Available HERE

And of course, a portrait of my studio assistant.

Have a lovely weekend!

Open Studios

Thank you to all of my local readers who came out this weekend for Fall Open Studios at the Continental Gin Building in Deep Ellum, Dallas. It was so good, after the difficult week we've all had (no matter which way you voted) to come together for art and community. Our next open studio will be in March! I'll keep you posted. 

Photo: My studio mate, Jay Bailey, talking about his large scale piece in the background.

Open Studios

Hello art lovers. Next weekend, the Continental Gin Building is hosting two days of open studios. This is a great chance to see a lot of art all at one time by visiting the artists in their studios. Come visit me in my studio, see the new work I'm creating and enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer!

Friday, November 11th
6:00pm - 10:00pm

Saturday, November 12th
2:00pm - 8:00pm

3309 Elm Street
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas 75226
Studio 3E3

New Work | "Healers"

Here's my latest commission. It just landed in California, safe in the arms of my client. This baby is 36" x 36" - acrylic on canvas. It was painted for a yoga instructor who is battling cancer. The piece is called "Healers" and I hope it helps my client on a cellular level. I poured all my LOVE and LIGHT into this piece.

Marrow | A New Commission

Here's a look at my newest commission. My client is a pathologist and wanted some evocative artwork for her windowless office space. She came to me with some inspiration photos - these were images of bone marrow and fungus under a microscope. It was the perfect fodder for abstract art. I delivered her piece today and I'm very happy with the final results.

Marrow  -  72 x 36 inch acrylic on canvas

Detail of Marrow

Here are the microscope images that served as inspiration.