I'm excited to invite you to a show that I am co-curating with my talented artist friend Jane Richlovsky of The Good Arts Building in Seattle.
I have been envisioning both the artwork and this show, I'm not kidding, for 10 years. Originally I was going to call it The Good Life Project - but DANG IT if that title wasn't already taken! So Jane and I came up with Our-topia.
In response to all the horrible dystopian images that fill our airwaves (and consequently our mind-waves) I wanted to create an illustrated vision of the future that I wanted to see.... one that inspires hope and gives a blueprint that the viewers could move towards.
I've been thinking a lot about what kind of energy it requires to foster positive change. The energy I'm filled with in response to the constant barrage of bad news tends towards outrage and despair. Though anger can spark action, it can't sustain it. What sustains long term change is excitement, enthusiasm, and hope. And what inspires excitement, enthusiasm and hope? Something to look FORWARD to, not just things to fight against or run away from.
It's kinda like riding a bike. When you are on a trail, and there are all kinds of sticks or rocks, or other bikers, or dogs running around, if you focus on those things you tend to accidentally steer TOWARDS them. You have to look for the clear trail you want to ride on and then it's easy breezy.
I know that sounds *suspiciously* like manifest-y positive thinking woo woo speak. However, I don't believe you should just focus on the good stuff without understanding the bad stuff. There has to be a balance.
The words "balance" and "sustainable" just keep popping up in both what I want within my life now and what future I want to see. The "Good Life" for me is a home and lifestyle that is environmentally sustainable, and fossil-fuel free. It means community designed living and gathering spaces. It means education that is service oriented and designed to match the growing patterns of a child's mind and body. It means freedom from fear - of un-regulated guns or a fascist un-humanitarian government.
So now I've been trying to illustrate those lofty goals! I've completed two and hope to have 3 in time for the show on September 5th, but I will be making more for sure. I plan on moving this show to an online format, where I can invite artists of all stripes to contribute with their visions.
The image on the left is inspired by the work of Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement, as well as New Urbanism, which are both methods of urban planning that focuses on community, walkability, and environmentalism (the "map" in the background shows a bit of the Garden City). The houses are powered by solar tiles and "wind trees" (wind turbines designed to look like trees). The land surrounding homes is designed and cultivated with the principles of permaculture.
The illustration on the right (work in progress) goes into one of my future homes, specifically into the bathroom. An intrinsic part of my dream world health care will be preventative: part of that system will include data gathering by our very own powder room! The floors will automatically weigh us as we enter, as well as calculate body fat, water percentage, bone density, and your resting heart rate. Information will be gathered from samples of our waste, saliva and blood to alert us to any illnesses. All of this info will be reflected in our "Med Mirrors"... which will also provide tips for food, vitamins, and exercise customized to us based on the data collected. This information will then shared privately with our family doctor if we need more specialized care. All of this isn't actually all that futuristic: smart scales and smart mirrors have already been invented. I imagine them incorporated into the structure of our homes. But with extremely strong fire walls!
Both illustrations are 8" X 10" egg tempera paintings on claybord, which I've also scratched into to create very textured images.
Official Like Description of the Show:
Our-Topia: Artists Create the Future
What does the “good life” mean to you?
Face it, things are bleak. Climate change, police brutality, gun violence, inequality, blatant racism, authoritarian populism threatening our democracy…the list just seems to go on and on. It’s difficult not to feel discouraged and fearful. Outrage and fear are courted by the media and amplified in the echo chambers of social media.
Humanity badly needs a path forward at this juncture. Artists have the creative chops, and with it a sacred responsibility to envision a different future. Just imagine if our media, film, literature and art offered blueprints for hopeful and bright futures. Instead of reinforcing immobilizing fear, they could inspire positive action.
That is the theme of this show, OUR-TOPIA, ARTISTS CREATE THE FUTURE. 10 artists share their visions of the world they would like to see.
Come and be inspired... and perhaps you too can start envisioning a brighter tomorrow.
Opening night is during the Seattle Pioneer Square Art Walk, Thursday September 5th, 5:30-7:30.
Cherry Street Coffee House
700 1st Ave, Seattle WA
The show runs September 5-December 31.
Lin Lin Mao
My 5”x 5” egg tempera portraits (embellished with real gold leaf) based on the quote:
“Every woman I know has been storing anger for years in her body and it’s starting to feel like bees are going to pour out of all of our mouths at the same time.” Erin Keane @eekshecried
When my friend Kristen shared this tweet with me, I instantly wanted to create an image based on it, because it resonated so completely with how I've been feeling for the last few years... Raise your hand if you also are a woman who is so pissed bees are coming out of your mouth. The timing of this inspiration also correlated with my desire to change up my preferred medium, which has been acrylic paint. I love acrylic paint. But I hate plastic.
What's an eco-artist to do?
I had learned about egg tempera, which is pigment suspended in a substrate of egg yolk (as opposed to plastic like acrylic), from a couple icon classes I have taken. However, I have felt too intimidated by the alchemist-like preparation one has to do to use this ancient technique. You have to crack an egg, separate the yolk from the white, mix it with distilled water, then mix it with the pigment, make sure not to inhale.... that's way too many steps, dude. Luckily a fabulous artist by the name of Fred Wessel came to Whidbey Island and taught a class, and I finally was able to take the leap. I now find that I prefer using egg tempera: it is like painting with velvet - both soft and rich in consistency and color.
This has also changed my painting/brush technique a little bit. With egg tempera, I'm building up my colors and shading with small little strokes, as opposed to blending the colors like one would do with oil... or the "puddle and push" technique I learned with icon writing. I imagine the more I use it, I will come up with some blend of all of these.
The Bee Girlz are available for purchase HERE.
Above are some in-process photos: the portraits are started with a base of either a blue tone or a green tone, and then layers of flesh colors are applied until they aren't so smurf or corpse like.
I'm over the moon that the French Feminist Magazine, Causette, requested the use of my Hildegarde for their special "30 Female Pariahs of History". Didn't they do a beautiful job?
If you want to read what I wrote about Hildegarde, you can read this Blog Post. If you'd like your very own print, go HERE.
Super excited to report that my painting "Wear Your Rue with a Difference" is featured in House & Garden, in the "The Art Edit" section. I feel so fancy.
I made Ophelia in "Rue" so that my other Shakespeare painting, "Beware my Sting" featuring Kate from Taming of the Shrew, could have a companion. I'm trying to view these heroines through the lens of they're pissed rather than the typical female role, both from that era or everything coming after that!!!
My Ophelia, rather than tragic, rues the fact that the two men in her life that she loved the most had so much power over her that they could drive her mad and drive her to death. She's back and she has unfinished business. She is going to "wear her rue with a difference".
I plan on making at least one more in this series - which I'm tentatively calling "Vexed".
Which Shakespeare heroine with an attitude would you like to see?
PS: Both Ophelia and Kate are available for purchase. They are $1200. For enquiries, contact me at email@example.com.
I will be participating in my shared studio space, Blueschool Arts, new holiday tradition: the Makers Tour! We have some super cool makers in our neighborhood, besides the fab artists that are sheltered by Blueschool.
I will be contributing my art pendants, some cool art pebbles (aka magnets), and some embellished prints.
6451 S. HARDING CLINTON WA
The other participants are as follows:
Participating Artists from Blueschool:
Tammi Sloan, My Brown Wren Jewelry
Kim Hodges, Whidbey Wares Beeswax Candles
Melissa Koch, Fine Art and Prints
Port Clinton Participants:
Abundant Earth Fiber Mill
Winter Market in the Clinton Community Hall.
Whidbey Island Waldorf (Saturday only, 10AM-1PM)
Meet "Queen Wasp" or alternative titles "If I Be Waspish" or "Beware My Sting". She is my most recent painting, completed in January, made specifically for the "All The World is a Stage" Shakespeare themed show at Museo Gallery in Langley WA. The assignment for the show was for us to pick a quote from any Shakespeare play and then create an artwork that also incorporated the quote within it. I chose "If I be Waspish, beware my sting." from Taming of the Shrew. You can see the quote within the lace on her chest, which is actual silk cord that I adhered to the painting. Her earrings and the boning of her corset are also little embellishments. Her hairstyle is a wasp nest (2018's answer to the 50's beehive, HA!), and her dress is decorated with designs inspired by wasp wings and hive structure. For me she represents the anger that has been stirred up within the feminine psyche against all of the injustices perpetrated by toxic masculinity. Don't kick the wasp's nest if you don't want to get stung.
"If I be Waspish" is 24" X 36" on a cradled birch panel, Mixed Media Acrylic Painting. $1200. through Museo Gallery. Show ends February 20th.
Around the same time that I completed the painting, the international fancy pants magazine World of Interiors (a Condé Nast publication) reached out and asked if I wanted to participate in their Artistic Impressions ad campaign. I said WHY YES, YES I WOULD, and so Queen Wasp now graces the pages of this hipster styley mag. I think she fits right in!
"I actually drink a lot of water already so my 2018 resolution is to tear down the patriarchy." - Melinda Taub @MelindaTaub
Last year at this time, I wrote about how the usual resolutions we tend to revisit every year, that are centered on appearances or insecurities, just feel so... frivolous during this pivotal time in history. Now a year later, on the heels of #metoo, it seems even less significant to worry about our holiday muffin top.
Well, personally I STILL have to fight the bad habit of being overly concerned with a number on a scale. I wish I could say I was so enlightened in my feminist self that my heart didn't fall when even my fat pants are too small after a holiday season of an excess of cheese bread and sugar. MMMMM cheese bread and sugar.
But you know fuck it. I'm almost 46 years old. If you look through history, women in their middle years tend to be big bosomed with thickened waists. They also have clear eyes, firm jaws, and strong arms - a reflection of the maturity that comes with children, hard work, and more stories to tell (or keep). They were NOT all blonde, lithesome yoga practitioners with a resume worthy of a international diplomat.
What's important right now, for me, is to keep doing my art, loving my family, and participating in my community.
Oh, and taking down the patriarchy. ;-)
We are getting closer to the shortest day of the year, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we are facing farther away from the sun as we do our silly, spinn-y dance through space.
I actually love this time of year. I love being wrapped in darkness, I love going to bed earlier, I love the dark mornings and sunrises behind fog, mist and frost, I love the holiday lights. I love the cold and bundling in woolens. I love being quieter and spending time with just a few loved ones.
The feelings that elicit my emotion of "love" are what the Norwegians call "koselig" (pronounced "coo-sah-lee" or "coosh-ah-lee"). The Danish call it "Hygge" (pronounced HEW-geh), but that is actually a Norwegian word as well. Koselig roughly translates to "cozy" and Hygge roughly translates to "comfort" or possibly it is derived from the word hugge which means to embrace. You get the gist here.
When you live in countries where it the sun is elusive from October to May, you need something to get through - or even, to ENJOY - the dark and cold. And for that we have koselig.
I just finished koselig-ing my living room. When we first moved into our house 5 years ago, my color pallette for our walls was inspired by the different shades of chicken eggs, so the living room was brown chicken egg. But I haven't liked it. Then on Instagram I saw it: a DARK GREY living room, with a black chimney. I had avoided greys because the Pacific Northwest is similar to Scandi countries in that we spend a lot of time in grey, the sun hidden. I wanted our living room to be warm and koselig! But I couldn't hit on a "warm" color that felt right. Come to find, dark grey feels koselig, WHO KNEW. Especially when you throw around knitted cushions, sheepskin, and tea lights (thank you Ikea)!
I've noticed in my trips to visit my family in Norway that there is something about setting the mood of koselig that also happens through out the year. I don't know what you would call it, but basically what it seems to me is an appreciation of beauty and ritual. An example is my Aunt Ingeborg and Uncle Ola took myself and my husband and daughter on a picnic in the summer, to a beach near their cabin. This was a late night picnic, because the opposite of the darkness of winter there is the brightness of summer and sunset happening after 12AM! Ingeborg and Ola had the food packed up in their little knapsacks, and when we reached the beach they took out a thermos of coffee (because in Norway, you drink coffee all.day.long), and then their BLUE AND WHITE CHINA. No plastic or disposable dishes, NO. It was a beautiful night on a lovely beach with loved ones, and the food and drink should be presented with care. My Aunt and Uncle are not wealthy (though by American standards, having all the benefits of Norway sure feels wealthy!), but they had special things that they took care of. What if instead of access to a large quantity of plastic things from China, we only could collect things with care and thoughtfulness, with attention to the aesthetic impact? Like the feeling of "koselig" there are other feelings that are brought forth by beautiful things. Like Art!
Enjoying and collecting art or artful things isn't just about indulgence or luxury, it's about creating an environment that makes you and your loved ones happy. And if you are happy, or calm, or cozy, or koselig.... then you are more able to contribute to your life and our world.
As usual, the Norwegians got it right.
Saturday, December 2
10 am – 4 pm
I will have my studio space open and embellished prints, amulets, and goddess shrines available for HOLIDAY shoppy shop during the Clinton Holiday Makers Tour! Make a day of it with all the fun things to check out....
Eat, shop and be merry as you explore all the Holiday goodness Creative Clinton has to offer.....
Fill your belly with warm tasty noodles at Island Nosh, then fill your sleigh with gifts for everyone on your list as you travel through the shops and workshops of Port Clinton.
Visit Make Whidbey for one-of-a-kind beautiful local gifts and furniture; stop at the Abundant Earth Fiber Mill for luscious spun, carded, and knitted wool; bop over to Whidbey Glass Gallery for unique art glass; drop by the Winter Market at the Clinton Community Hall; and re-fuel with ME and my artsy co-horts at Blueschool Arts as you enjoy a variety of original art and gifts created by the nine resident artists.
We will have glass, candles, mixed media original artwork, jewelry, embellished prints, sculpture, oil paintings - and other fun stuff. Including COOKIES.
It’s all happening in Clinton! See you there!
PS: If you're on Facebook, RSVP on the official Event!
I am happy to report that the third Goddess in my series "Goddess, Saints and Real World Heroines" has been completed. Though honestly, she has been showing up repeatedly in recent works so it is no surprise that she has entered the pantheon.
Her name is Kali, which in Sanskrit means "Black" or "Time". She is both a blood thirsty goddess and an ambivalent mother figure of power. She is one of many aspects of the Hindu Goddess of the Divine Feminine, Devi or Shakti. More specifically, both Kali and her sister/mother Durga are an aspect of the Goddess Parvati, and fulfill her role as a warrior goddess or a manifestation of Divine Rage. Kali is the Divine Protector, the Destroyer of Evil Forces, the Mother of the Universe, and bestows liberation.
Something that is overlooked in the powers of the divine feminine is the fierceness of our rage. Kali embodies this completely, and I have felt her dark passion for justice welling up in my own heart in response to some of the ugliness that has been revealed within the corruption of our human society. Continued assaults on women and human rights. Sexual predation by those in power. Neglect and violence done to the Earth.
As women have been waking and rising up recently in response to attacks on ourselves and the Feminine in general, I can see and hear and feel Kali waking up as well - gathering her cloak of the blackness of the void, her eyes sparked with fire and rage, and her blade held high to cut through some major bullshit.
Kali, 11X14 mixed media acrylic Icon Illustration. Pictured: Kali with her necklace of 52 skull beads, representing the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet; her sword and decapitated head, representing cutting through the illusion/delusion of the ego; she is dancing in the cremation grounds because she is the Goddess of the transformation of Death; pictured below her is the God of Fire Agni, who has 7 tongues, including one named Kali; and the Goddess Durga, who called Kali forth from her forehead in a divine rage to kill demons.
Sometimes it is not enough to play nice.
Kali will be available SOON as embellished prints and in amulet form if you feel her call. Sign up for my newsletter to be kept in the loop!