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Sunday, September 13, 2009


I finally have some pics from the Simpson College show.... the work is up at Farnham Galleries until the 18th... so there is still time to go....

Friday, August 28, 2009

"The Real and the Imagined"
Farnham Galleries
Simpson College
Indianola, IA
September 1-18. 2009
Opening reception Thursday September, 3
5-6 (but really till 7 :) cuz I won't let them lock up early)
Farnham Galleries - located on the 3rd floor of Mary Berry Hall on North C St in Indianola
Hours are Monday- Friday 8am to 4:30pm
Additional hours upon request 515-961-1761... hey call if you want in on a Saturday!

The body of work for the “Real and the Imagined” is inspired by and comes from my time volunteering at the Newport Animal Shelter in Newport, TN. While there, I witnessed so many pets brought in and the vast amount of energy the workers and volunteers exuded to save them. I felt the best way that I could make a difference was to make art about what I saw. I was not a bystander and instead rolled up my sleeves and worked as hard as the rest. While there, I was even fortunate enough to be able to take a vanload of dogs to safety in New York through a rolling rescue program. The work is very personal since I was a part of it.

My original intent was to stay with the shelter for a year and to make portraits to honor the dogs and cats that were not lucky enough to be on the transport to safety or to find homes. Unfortunately, I was only able to be there a short time after my Mother became very ill and I needed to move back to Iowa. The project changed from mere portraits as I suddenly found myself working with the information I had gathered during my time there and having to move states away. While working on this project I dealt with the loss of my Grandmother, my Mother, my Grandfather, and I have recently been diagnosed with cancer. The work is not solely about the portraits at all now and has become something much deeper and meaningful to me.

The 2-room gallery at Simpson has afforded me an opportunity to change the work in an even different direction. In one room I have the “real” which consists of the photos I took of the living and the dead I encountered at the shelter… in the other room is the “imagined” which relates to how my imagination has removed the animals from their bars. In some of the work in the “imagined” I have included an image I found of my Mom that I found after her death – she is a young dancer…. And this carries great importance because prior to her death she could not walk anymore- she too had fallen into a cage like the animals I met. While she was dying she talked about seeing past pets who my family had loved, but had lost to death– so I believe she is there with all them…

The work you see is not the end of my project- it is really just the start.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


OK so the first show featuring the work from project fifty-two is about to happen.
The show is at Farnham Galleries at Simpson College in Indianola, IA.
It runs 2 weeks - opening the doors on Sept. 1 with the opening reception/gallery talk on Thursday September 3 at 5 pm.
Currently I am quickly getting everything in frames etc. since I got behind after surgery for the cancer.. but I will be ready!!!! The show will consist of photos and digital work- drawings and mixed media... I will post the actual card when I get it as well as pics from the show!!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Man, things have been so much harder than I thought.. I was sure when I had surgery for my breast cancer that I would be up and about right after - wrong! Instead I have been knocked on my butt more than I have ever been- and I haven't even started chemo. But the show must go on! In the midst of my recovery I was able to get the frames.. I have been out twice for non medical related reasons and both times I got things I need for this work. I have been too out of it to do much work so I am altering the show some.. more framed photos and digital than I had thought... not a huge deal... I am currently trying to reduce my pain meds so I can get back to work on this full force because the clock is ticking.. I hope to have everything framed this weekend so I can spend the final days before hanging trying to finish up whatever else I can. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

well carp!

Sooo my life has really been a battle while I have been working on this.. I haven't updated this for some time because of that. Since last updating, I have lost my Grandfather and I had found out that I have cancer. Making art about life and death is hard, but dealing with it on a regular basis is even harder. I am going to get through the stupid cancer and I have surgery in about 2 weeks. I also have my first show with this work in a month and a half? so I will be hanging the show while I am going through the cancer treatments. 
So I have something else to focus on other than the breast cancer that is trying to take me down- I can focus on this show- it is good to have a goal that does not involve medical anything at the moment. I will try and update more....
( I currently have put my etsy shops on vacation mode- but if you are interested in a print please let me know. )

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I am working on several mixed media pieces that are taking years to make because I am building up layers and layers... and there were some dead trees in the yard that my Mom and I had planted - well, they were taken down and the genius tree taker downer cut me several pieces that are being sanded and will be used in the work.. plus I just finished a drawing that I need to go back and smudge a bit.. but anyway, I am working!!!  (  I also sold a few things on Zazzle which is cool.. but I can't remember my password to get in so I can get the teensy money I made and send some to the shelter... but when I do I will be so excited to have helped in a tiny bit) ok... off to work........and soon I should get more pics on here.. my camera is somewhere and the computer is still not working right.. but I will get some more images on here no matter what!

Monday, May 25, 2009


I finally got some plywood and am working on some mixed media pieces.... just taking a break while things dry.... I am using the photos I took and mixing them with some old photos ... I won't explain much more till I have some images to put on here.. funny how things work.. while readying images for the mixed media pieces I had an idea for an installation piece and am excited to get that going as well... although none of it will happen if I can't get the flippin saw to work - I received a miter saw as a gift, but it is stuck in the down position and locked.. it says to unlock it to use it, but I can't figure out how! ugh. 
I found homes for a couple of the digital prints so that makes me happy.. it was so interesting in that one of the buyers actually adopted a similar dog to the one in the image- and that dog came from TN... it was pretty cool hearing from someone who had adopted.. love to hear the stories and see pics. 
OK.. back to work.. I am cleaning the kitchen/bathroom/living room and doing laundry and making art all at the same time.. I just work things in between drying times.. very productive!
(the above image is one that I am using in the mixed media work I am doing now....)

Friday, April 10, 2009

slloowwww again

I am way behind as usual, but much more than usual. First, my computer has a million viruses and I have not been able to use it much for awhile now.. and that stinks. Second I am now dealing with another terminally ill family member. So, when I can I work on this -  but lately I am just in a rut. The one bright thing was I sold my first digital piece! I was very excited - it was ironic since I had actually logged on to my etsy shop that day to out a hold on the shop since so much was preventing me from being able to check it lately.... and there it was.. my first sale .. I was so happy! I hope to have more work on here soon.. but things are sporadic with the lack of a trustworthy computer and my extra time I spend at hospice. So... hopefully in the not too distant future I will have a more positive post.. 
oh,, and I am planning on going back to the shelter in about 6 months.. it seems so long, but I can't wait!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Many times at the shelter, groups of dogs or cats would be brought in - sometimes in pairs. The above image is a pair of dogs that came in and never found a home. I remember them since they were strong dogs and they did not like being cooped up together.. I wondered if they had been allowed to run free until they ended up in the kennel. I made this piece a little darker than some... I just started removing the bars and was interested in how light they were aginst everything else.. anyway that inspired this piece to have a little stronger contrast than some of the others. Some, like this one, I think it is necessary to leave indications of the bars..

Monday, February 23, 2009

working working working working

I come home every night from my cubicle job and have been working on the digital works. I am broke so I decided to finally put some images in my online shop. Check it out. .. I need to raise funds so I can buy more paper and get frames for the show etc. etc. I am doing these in editions of 52 and keeping the 1st and last in the edition for the show.

The above image is part of this weekends work. It was always amazing to me how many hounds I saw at the shelter. One day I would like to adopt one....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I worked on this one last night.. I am redoing the photos.. removing the solid backgrounds that I had and working with the color and existing image.. you can see some of the cage fencing still in this image.. I am removing it, yet in some I will let it exist somewhat. In the ones where the dog or cat is standing up against the cage, when I remove the fencing, they seem sometimes like they are just standing up or awkwardly floating.
Maybe I mentioned that I was reworking all of the photos before? (maybe I should read my own blog- ha ha). I haven't been on the drawings as much lately. My intention at this point is to have a variety of media in the show - but they all carry related images with the subject matter.
I have stepped back into the cubicle life. I need some sort of steady income and my artwork is just not supporting me at all. So, I work all day and hit the art when I get home. I am tired. But, a lot of us have a day job.... I wish though it was something cool like dolphin training or professional macaroni taster.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have been working on this one tonight..I am tired now though, so I am's not done...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So before I had been removing the animals from their cages and using a solid background. I have been working in softening up the backgrounds and altering the image some. It started when I was going back into some images and seeing animals with sores and I started to remove them.. then I kept going and I was seeing that the altering of the original image beyond just background removal was bringing something new to the photos..
In the one gallery (the real) I plan on having 52 images - but I am going to have some large drawings, some altered photos, some mixed media.. I do not want the viewer to be lost in a mass of sameness. I think to have everything the same medium, size. color, etc. is too much like the consistent loss of the animals.. after a short while, no matter how hard I tried, I did forget some due to the large numbers arriving on the shelter- I want very much for each animal not to become, once again, just one of many.. by altering the sizes and colors etc. of the work - it allows them to have their identity again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

today's work...

I had been working with this imge for some time now, but I could never get it right.. well today I tried again.. and I am liking it....

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I haven't updated here for some time.. my Mom passed away on December 24th and I have just been spinning from that so I have not gotten anything done. I did start cleaning and organizing my studio so I can get back to work... with everything going on - things got out of control in there and I haven't been able to focus with the mess!

I have been thinking about this project a lot and about this blog. When I began the blog as a part of the work, I thought it would be interesting to document the process and the hurdles I would come across during it. I have always been interested in how an artist got to the point when they painted their works . It has always interested me in how the time a person lives in affects their work as well as their relationships, their living conditions, economic status, etc. When I began this blog, I wasn't thinking about all of those things - I was thinking about solely how the project would go - but I am realizing that so many of those things have really affected the project. It's as if each drawing and painting I do has a million little invisible strings attached to it.. strings that carry the issues in my life that affect that work of art even though I would not have ever thought they had an influence. So, this blog is making me take all of this in and understand more in depth for myself those seemingly invisible influences that, in fact, have as much influence in this work as the actual animals at the shelter have.

One thing I also wanted to document, was how things change.. how art to me is a very organic process and with shifts in the environment the work adapts and changes. One major change recently is an opportunity and a loss I have come across.

First the opportunity - next September, I have my first and so far only, show with this work. It will be at a college gallery and the gallery actually is two rooms.. two rooms separated by a hallway. So, I had some thinking to do about how the work will appear placed in two rooms - this provides me with an opportunity - what if within the work - there were too different directions?

And now the loss - as I sat at the bedside of my dying Mom for over two months, I became a spectator to the dying process. Now, this process was new to me in that I have seen death before. Only when this project began had I encountered it. Prior to coming to the shelter, I came across a dog who had been hit on the road- that dog looked at me with glassy eyes wagged its tail and died. A short time later, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a terrible car accident and saw a man dying as he was pinned against a tree.. it was a violent and terrible thing. And then, of course, I have seen the euthanasia. The euthanized animals had fear in their eyes and I could have sworn they "knew" - they knew. But, their deaths were quick and peaceful.

My Mom's death was different - it took time. I witnessed her for so many weeks talking to others in the room that I could not see. Some people might say there were ghosts or angels.. I don't know,, but many things led me to believe they were real. She talked about things before they happened - one day she excitedly told "them" I had just sold a piece of art - I had not for some time - yet two days later I did. There were other things. She also talked about seeing the pets of the past.. Toby my childhood dog was one she "saw"one day and was very excited. She talked about a beautiful place and said it was warm all the time there - she even asked "them" one day if I could come along. And then one day she turned to me out of the blue and said "Tinkerbell died of old age". Tinkerbell was a cat I loved as a child who was taken from me and taken to the pound by my parents... I had always wondered about her... it was upsetting to me.. but I never really talked to my Mom about it - so it was astonishing that on her deathbed my Mom told me that. She told me she lived with her new family until she died of old age. So, it got me thinking.. according to my Mom - the animals could be seen after death- where did they go?

So I have decided that in one gallery I will have the "real" the images - drawings, paintings, photos of the animals I have met and who have gone. In the second gallery will be the "imagined" - the images of them in what might be their next stop. According to my Mom the next stop is a beautiful place - it is warm - there is swimming :) - and no one seems to be alone.. so I would like to include this as part of the project. I have a lot of work to do.