I decided to close out my 2017 Lady of the Month with a portrait of one of my dearest friends, Kelly Pelka! I met Kelly around 2007 or so through our mutual friend Naomi. Shortly after we met we started a weekly drawing group and would take field trips around Chicago to visit galleries and support other local artists. She invited me to be a youth art mentor at Right Brained Studio where I taught sewing and cartooning classes to kids. She provided me with a lot of guidance as I learned the ropes. When we both lived in Chicago we spent time together pretty much at least once a week and had many great discussions about life and art. Recently I took a trip out to Portland, Oregon to visit her after moving away from Chicago over five years ago. It was like our friendship hadn't skipped a beat! I'm very excited to see what Kelly works on in the coming years. You can check out her art here, or follow @kelly_pelka_art on Instagram.
My November 2017 Lady of the Month is another person who would probably not expect to get a portrait since we haven't chatted in years. Athena! We met at a mindless data entry job in Chicago. She introduced me to podcasts, which quickly became an addiction. We bonded over our love of cats and video games. Sometimes we would take little mini adventures from the tedium of our job to do fun Chicago things like ice skating in Millenium Park and visiting the French Market in the Ogilvie Train Station. She was one of the last people I would see in Chicago on a mostly daily basis, but we both moved away. I love Athena because she is adventurous, creative, and easy to talk to. She just bought her first house so now she will have a new piece of artwork to hang!
It has been awhile since I have participated in an exhibition since I have been focusing on commissions! I was accepted into this large group show in a small town in upstate New York. The details are below:
Our fourth annual Small Works, juried by artist, independent curator, and educator Cory E. Card, is a national juried exhibition of work 12 inches or smaller. As the former Curator at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY, Cory has organized over 80 exhibitions.
Cory holds an MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and has held previous positions in the Exhibition Departments at the George Eastman Museum and the Albright Knox Art Gallery. He has taught courses at Rochester Institute of Technology, The College at Brockport, University of Rochester, and Monroe Community College.
A total of $2,000 in cash awards, "Best in Show" receives $1,000!
The exhibition features the work of 121 artists from 32 states.
December 2, 2017–January 5 , 2018
20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs, NY
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 4–7 p.m.
Don Arday, A.M. Benz, Pirjo Berg, Valerie Berner, Kathryn Bevier, Audrey Bialke, Deborah Bilinski, Lillian Anna Blouin, Paul Brandwein, Christina Brinkman, Lenaria Brondum, Faithanne Flesher Carapella, Judi Rogers Cermak, Chad Cleveland, Bob Conge, Cari Grindem-Corbett, Cheryl Dawdy, Roger Derrick, Jean Nunez Donegan, Tenley DuBois, Joel T. Dugan, Peri Enkin, Brenda Erickson, Roberta Estes, Patrick R. Facemire, Bryan Fellenbaum, Melinda M Fisher, David L. Folts, Kathleen Friedrich, Jaime Gaiti, Geoffrey Gilbert, Judith Gohringer, Rachael Gootnick, Melodie Grace (Shearer), Jill Grimes, Ellen Haffar, Richard Harvey, Wendy Hastings, Alina Hayes, Tracy Hayes, Douglas Hein, Lynette K. Henderson, David H Hewson, Josephine Hodos, Nancy Anne Holowka, Sally Hootnick, Robert S. Hunter, Anna Katalkina, Susan Kaye, Emily Kenas, Ed Kent, Myoung Su Ko, Zach Koch, Seunghwui Koo, Laura Korch Bailey, Anne Lahr, Shelli Langdale, Valerie Larsen, Diane E. Leifheit, Sue Huggins Leopard, SeungTack Lim, Allen Linder, Hannah Lindo, James Mai, Laura Martinez-Bianco, Roberta Masciarelli, Geena Massaro, Constance Mauro, Ryan McDonnell, Claudia Mejia-Willett, Melissa Moody, Kaele Mulberry, Roberta Nelson, Jacqueline Nikol, Sewall Oertling, Anna Overmoyer, Allison Parssi, Jim Pearson, Colleen Pendry, Sonja Petermann, Natalie Pivoney, Jacob Platt, Nathan Porterfield, R. Prost, Elizabeth Reid, Susan Rooke, Kari Ganoung-Ruiz, Suzan Sammak, Bill Santelli, Jenna Sarabia, Maria Victoria Savka, Rachel Schwemin, Bruce Shores, Toni Silber-Delerive, Lisa Jane Smith, Cathryn Smith, Jean K Stephens, Bill Stephens, Patricia Stevens, Debra Stewart, Margaret Suchland, Jessica Szuchyt, Roi Tamkin, Melissa Tevere, Sue Toomey, Juan Ramiro Torres, Bridget Bossart VanOtterloo, Krystle Vermes, Pamela Viggiani, Anna Watson, Frank Wengen, Curtis Widem, Allie Wilkinson, Michael Willett, Margaret Wilson, Milo Wissig, Beckett Wood, Rebecca Woods, Jim Woodside, Dongyi Wu, Hyewon Yoon
I know it's November, I'm a little behind on my blog. Working in an office means the last thing I feel like doing in my spare time is spending time on my laptop...so here we are. Better late than never I suppose...
Elisha is my October Lady of the Month! One of the fun things about this project is that there are going to be some random people who I surprise with a portrait who are not going to expect it. Elisha is one of those people. We don't actually know each other and have never really exchanged words. We started following each other on social media a long, long time ago. I think I was researching various galleries awhile back and found Nowhere Gallery. When I saw the collages Elisha was creating I was blown away. There is this jarring creepiness which is also beautiful, especially with the latest paintings she has been creating. Visit Elisha Sarti's website here.
I've been sitting on this portrait for months! This is Melissa. She used to be one of my bosses when I worked at Vella Cafe who became a great friend of mine. I love Melissa because she is caring, fun and hilarious. She invents yummy, creative syrups that can be used in cocktails, snow cones and cooking (JoSnow). I remember when I needed to move to a new apartment she let me borrow her van so I didn't have to rent one. She and I share a love for cats and she has commissioned me to paint several of them over the years. She is someone I would definitely have to go out to eat with the next time I'm in Chicago because she knows all the best places to eat. Check out and buy some of her syrups!
Because this is the month that my family has our yearly reunion I decided to feature my Aunt Gail as the August Lady of the Month! She has an oddball sense of humor and is very resourceful. She and her family live off grid on a beautiful plot of land in New Hampshire. She rescues and raises horses, and has given me a couple riding horses over the years. I was actually terrified to sit on a dinosaur horse, but she made me feel somewhat comfortable with the experience...so to me that means she is a great teacher too! To see what she does you can visit her website: Balance Point Farm.
I have chosen a long time family friend, Paula, to be my July 2017 Lady of the Month portrait! I met Paula probably close to 25 years ago or so when her youngest daughter became friends with my littlest sister. Our families spent quite a bit of time together as we were growing up. We went on hikes, celebrated holidays, and also get together every year for a week on the beach (which is where I am writing this blog post). Paula is someone who I can always have an interesting conversation with and she has a great smile. And she is a lot of fun. One of my favorite memories is when she and my mom would have 40/50, 50/60 and 60/70 birthday parties. I'm glad that my parents became friends with the Dustons, and I think I have used that friendship to model some of my adult friendships after.
Around 2006 or 2007 I had a serious bout of artist block. I didn't know what to do with myself, felt uninspired and depressed. I needed to make art, but didn't know where to begin. Ornaglyphs were a result of pulling myself out of this rut. I would sit down and allow myself 15 minutes to sketch up a composition, then take my time painting and inking each piece in this odd color palette which has stuck with me ever since. The results were definitely strange and I'm not sure that anyone actually likes them, but the exercise helped me develop a cohesive style for my portraits. See some examples below.
I have decided to offer these paintings as a reward on my Patreon page to anyone who subscribes at $50/month. Supplies are limited as I only have about 20 of these left.
If you are interested in receiving a random Ornaglyph, but don't want to subscribe on Patreon, send me a note. For $50 fate will choose which painting you get. No exceptions.