Snakes on a Plane

Actually I’m on a plane to L.A. and the snakes have stayed behind in my studio.

As “White Collar Goes Black” progresses I find myself delving ever deeper into a related side-project: creating a line of Logo Creatures. Whose multi-purpose hides, conveniently, one can either caress or use to create Fashion. So far I’m working on the snakes but soon to come will be the squirrels and bunnies. I mean why wait until the animal is dead to emblazon your house’s logo on it? I propose genetically modifying the creatures from the get-go:











The best outfit for the occasion

Saturday I head off-island to the city of Truth of Consequences, New Mexico to attend Starry Night’s residency program!  I’m very excited, this will be my first residency experience.

In preparation I contacted a number of seasoned artists to ask them what worked or didn’t work for them with residencies they’d attended.  Apparently the main thing is that one should arrive with few preconceived notions.  Open mind.  Let the experience and the environment make it’s impact on your work.  Otherwise might as well stay home and work out of your studio as usual.  Okay, got it.

But the time, the time, how to manage the time?  Recently writer Gigi Rosenberg blogged about the “Pomodoro Technique”. Apparently this is where you set a timer and work for 25 minutes then do something else for 5 minutes.  And repeat.  I did  the math: an 8-hour work day would yield 80 “something else” minutes.  If a lady were to do some spirited cardio during those minutes then it stands to reason (and science!) that a lady might find herself wonderfully THIN by day’s end!  I was 100% in when confusion regarding footwear dampened my spirits: would I change into sneakers every 25 minutes? Obviously this method is riddled with holes.

Then a girlfriend alerted me to this perhaps nameless method whereby one begins working even before waking up completely. You just slip out of bed and over to the work station. The hope is to sneak in a couple of hours of unrestrained creative work before the left brain has a chance to become fully alert and realize that it’s being left out and that a lot of unrestrained creativity is occurring.

The downside of this method is that it assumes we all sleep right next to our work modules. Whereas my daily reality is that by the time I reach the studio I’ve been up (and most likely trembling with nerves) for hours. Maybe since before sunrise.  In fact I’ve already (half) dressed myself, calmed/diapered/fed my 3-month old, woken/breakfasted/dressed/packed a lunch for and dropped my three-year old off to school.  There are no drowsy hours.  There is complete unconscious and there is screaming, high-alert.

The daring of this method is that it calls for foregoing even coffee. I’m always up for a dare and so will try this method at least once and report back.

But questions circling what I’ll accomplish while at residency or how I’ll accomplish it are basically secondary.  The real question: what will I wear? teaches me that Truth or Consequences’s evenings can dip into the low 30’s.  Coco Chanel teaches me that The Little Black Jacket is always the best outfit for the occasion.


This photo is taken from a portion of one of my paintings in progress: I’ve added a casually slung surgical mask + fun face-hoodie to keep the look young and fresh.



Me. Chickens.

Very little is so uniquely life de-affirming as waiting at the docks for art supplies to arrive. With chickens.  And only chickens.  There are complications to being an artist on the islands…obtaining art supplies while maintaining robust morale being one of them.



BOCK! BOCK! You’re one of us, bock!



Smokers can pass some of the wait time in this elegant smoking lounge. With chickens.


Sometimes you wake up and find yourself in Seattle

Sometimes you wake up and find yourself in Seattle.  AGAIN.  I’ve been here for about a week now.

St Croix the morning I left (you’ll notice that the island is gearing up for another productive 3-drink morning…):

Buy 1 get 2

Seattle the morning I arrived:

Seattle Arrival

Open letter the Citizens of Seattle: you can stop telling me that “it isn’t usually this grey.”  I lived in this town for 9 years and I’m not interested in your lies.

But until coming back I don’t think that I fully realized how profoundly those 9 years influenced some really fundamental elements of my painting style.  At some point I did realize that I had stopped describing form through the use of light and shadow.  Why?  Because obviously where there is no sun (that right Seattleites: there is NO sun) there are no shadows.  I tend to use color to pull out form.  And those colors are all pretty uniformly dark and muddy.

Images of some pieces by the so-called “Northwest Masters,” a group of artists working in this valley in the 1930s and 40s (these particular paintings happen to be by Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and Morris Graves):


Images of some of my work:


Obviously the comparison is not direct, but the region’s influence is undeniable.  And while most of my conceptual concerns and those of the Northwest School diverge, like them I am also very submerged in the mystical; I am more interested in representing the light (and darkness) that my subjects give off and suck in rather than external sources of illumination.

I’ve got another 8 weeks here and I have to say that it’s exciting to be painting in the Grey Kingdom again.