For my April Lady of the Month I am featuring my Scenic Design teacher at Columbia College, Jackie. I think my education at Columbia was pretty special because any classes that had to do with my major were very small and we were given a lot of one on one attention. I took several classes with Jackie but my favorite was scenic painting. It was incredible to work on large panels and back drops, splashing around watered down house paint. She taught us painting techniques that I still use today, especially in my newer paintings. Getting that hands on experience with Jackie was invaluable.
Phew! Another late one.
This time, for March, I picked another old, Chicago friend, whitney. I also got to meet up with on my trip to Portland! whitney is a fun, colorful person who loves animals and sewing and making cool stuff. One of my favorite Thanksgivings was when she invited me over for an orphans feast. We used to work together at the best cafe in Chicago when it existed along with another Lady of the Month, Melissa.
I met Lillian a very long time ago. We worked together in a work study at Columbia College Chicago, in the Math and Science Department, along with our friend Tawasha. We didn't usually have too many tasks to accomplish, so Lillian, Tawasha, myself and some of the other work study students would hang out and chat while doing homework. I remember Lillian was very interested in making hats and drawing. I have been admiring her posts about boxing and noticed how healthy and strong she is, and it makes me feel motivated to start an exercise regime after being such a couch potato for way too long. She is simply badass, and also kind, creative and thoughtful. I miss working with both her and Tawasha and feel lucky that we had a chance to bond.
There are so many ladies who I think are incredible, and I've been having a very hard time narrowing it down to just 48 portraits. The only remedy I could think of is to either extend the length of time I work on this project, or I could also do some two-fers. I'll probably end up doing a little of both. This one is a twofer of sisters I met a long, long time ago.
I grew up with Anna and Ali in New Hampshire. Anna was one of my best childhood friends who inspired me to be creative, and she was just the coolest! Some of my favorite memories were from times we would work on fun projects like a dollhouse made of recyled materials, a fake catalog called "Funky Fashions" full of wacky, themed clothing styles, and teaming up on various O.M. teams. I absolutely hated high school but had a daily hour of respite in art class with Anna and a couple other friends.
Ali is Anna's little sister who was one of my younger sister's best friends too. She was a talented gymnast and now teaches gymnastics to kids. Ali also probably doesn't realize that she made me feel better about being teased at school by using her incredible sense of humor.
Happy Birthday Anna!
Also, the sweaters in this painting were inspired by this photo taken around 1986.
I wasn't much of a fan of this year and last, but some good stuff happened... I decided to focus on painting more and more...and getting myself out there. Here is a run down of some of my accomplishments and what I am looking forward to in 2018!
- Completed twelve Lady of the Month Portraits
- Painted a couple commissioned portraits of people and pets
- Started on a new series of abstract paintings (approximately 20)
- Participated in a live painting session at Community Art Garden and at The Wilson Castle
- Travelled to Crete, Greece
- Travelled to Portland, Oregon
- Accepted in a group art show at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, NY
- Made a habit to apply for art shows, residencies, and other opportunities on a monthly basis
Next year I hope to:
- Do more live painting, perhaps at some music festivals
- Paint lots, more portraits and expand my collection of abstract paintings
- Get into an artist residency
- Travel to Peru and New Mexico
- Get out of debt
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!