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!
Ok I've scheduled myself to write to you about something called 'Creepy-Beautiful ' which is a component of my artistic aesthetic, and how much I love the season of Fall and about the genre of gothic romance and also a super fun drawing challenge with halloween-y themed prompts; but I woke up to news of another mass shooting, and I think I'm starting to be menopausal, and the cat keeps peeing on soft surfaces around the house (mattresses, clothes, towels, rugs), and I'm in a bit of a funk.
So right now the world feels 100% creepy and not sure where the beauty is -let's see if I write about it we can dig it back up.
Creepy-beautiful is sort of like the French term, 'Jolie-Laude', which translates to 'Pretty-Ugly'. To the French, being conventionally pretty is boooo-ring. Being truly beautiful is a combination of odd characteristics, and of course something behind the face and body to carry one through the world. Creepy-Beautiful is something that is aesthetically lovely, but is enhanced by the juxtaposition of something dark, gothic, or.... creepy. That is what interests me visually.
I'm not a pure goth that decorates her house with coffins and wears all black etc etc (though I do admit to a certain amount of home decor shopping when Grandin Road comes out with its Halloween Collection), but I do have a board on Pinterest of photos of abandoned mansions; I enjoy listening to supernatural podcasts about ghosts and aliens and other mysterious happenings; and I was a huge fan of gothic romance novels as a teenager.
The Gothic Romance Series
This was the inspiration for my series of paintings also entitled 'Gothic Romance'. On the covers of the genre of gothic romance there is a specific theme: women running away from large foreboding mansions in which there is a single lighted window. I wanted to create my own gothic romance book cover art - but my heroines are less 'running away' and more part of the foreboding part of the story. They're not so much afraid as...a bit frightening themselves. A bit creepy-beautiful.
So you can see why I would also love October - when Fall really starts to feel like Fall, and the month of Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead. The abundance of color, the changing light, the shorter days and longer nights, the morning mist over the fields, the excess of sugary treats... the last hurrah before everything dies before a new cycle starts (did you notice that juxtaposition of both beauty and the darker bit of death?).
Time for Daily Creepy-Beautiful Drawings!
I find myself the most creative this time of year, and to celebrate that this is my second October joining in the drawing challenge called "Drawolleen" or "Inktober". I'll be drawing a halloween themed sketch every day of this month, inspired by prompts written by Mr. Nemeth (@mister.nemeth) called #artofdarkness2017. You can see them everyday on my Instagram or Facebook feed, and they are also available for purchase for $10 and little bit of shippy-ship if I have to mail it to you.
.....Ok well I guess I feel a little less insane now, taking my focus off of world events. But I'll leave this post with a couple of resources in that department:
A place to learn about and support commonsense gun control:
*Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to reduce drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms.
Give to Hurricane Relief:
*Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico) Relief
*Hurricane Harvey (Houston TX) Relief
*Hurricane Irma (Florida) Relief
So let's keep looking for the Beautiful in the midst of this super Creeptastic time.
For the month of May, I challenged myself to make 31 pieces of art in 31 days. I completed that challenge yesterday (yes I know it's June I didn't say CONSECUTIVELY. Jeez, so judgmental). I shared those pieces first with my mailing list, who had the opportunity to purchase them starting at $5 and going up $1 each art bit, ending at $35 - because it wasn't about the money - I wanted to make art a number one priority and see if I could stick with it.
What I learned is that I'm reeeallly quite busy, as are most moms! I manage a shared studio space. I volunteer. I do mom shit. I like to attempt at a semi regular exercise routine. Gotta take care of the dog. And yes I realize these are quite privileged middle aged middle classed married with husband who has a good job type busy-ness, but busy-ness none the less - and it was tough to put THOSE things lower on the to -do list, rather than art.
But what a gift to give my artist self. I explored themes (albeit not in depth) that have been on my art play list for a while. I worked on technique. I connected with my art fans. I used up a bunch of boards that have been piling up, waiting to be converted into art bits.
It was cool.
I'm glad it's done.
What I've come away with is: I have some new inspirations, and I have developed a closer relationship with my fans. And I found some grrreat podcasts to listen to while Art-ing! (Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It, Newsroast, The Adam Buxton Podcast, The Guilty Feminist. So good.)
I will DEFINITELY do it again - next May - and between then and now I have some fun ideas to continue to share with those who would like to join my newsletter!
And here are all the pieces: which are your 3 faves? Please leave a comment!
For those of you in Seattle, I wanted to make sure you knew about the Original Hits by Original Artists Show at Cherry Street Coffee House at 108 Cherry Street, which I have two pieces in!
ABOUT THE SHOW: R.I.P. the album cover, sort of. We said our goodbyes to that roomy square-foot of substantial cardstock, with its fantastic artwork — maybe by Warhol or Dali or Mapplethorpe —to name just a few. We also said our goodbyes to the hours of contemplation of the cover-art while the music spun on a nearby turntable, a unique synthesis of the aural with the visual with the tactile — a feast for the soul. Then the album cover was demoted in both size and importance, a mere afterthought of a booklet cover, encased in brittle plastic. Now stripped of its physicality entirely, it’s relegated to the ether where its low-rez pixelated remains live out their diminished existence barely visible on tiny hand-held screens. Until now! With LP sales now at a twenty-eight-year high, the album cover (both genuine and fake) is back!
Original Hits by Original Artists, opening May 4 right downstairs on the first floor of the Good Arts Building, will pay proper homage to the art of the album cover, both past and present—without the album. The exhibit features covers for dozens of fabricated albums cut by bands that exist only in the artists’ imaginations. The show will be on view May 4 – May 31, 2017 at 108 Cherry Street in the Good Arts Building (downstairs from ’57 Biscayne).
Original Hits by the Original Artists will be shown in conjunction with the Upstream Music Festival in early May —>>
Thursday, May 11: 4:00pm-8:00pm
Friday May 12: 4:00pm-8:00pm
Saturday May 13: 1:00pm-8:00pm
We are Upstream location #30 on the map:
* The exhibit will also be open on the last two Fridays and Saturdays in May, from 1-6PM and by appointment. Show runs May 4 - May 31
More info at 57biscayne.com
Just wanted to reach out and say HEY and let you know what I’ve been up to in the studio. Recently, I was able to participate in a fabulous workshop, presented by my good friend and studio mate Sara Saltee. It was called “Magical Little Worlds: Assemblage” and was as super fun as it sounds. It was really interesting because even though I’m a mixed media artist, and love to glue pretty things to my paintings, I’ve never really worked 3-D. Not since I was a kid, and made dioramas. Man, I love me some dioramas. Sooo when I started making my magical little world, I found I just fell back on my modus operandi and made a collage/painting with glued on items. Below you can see what I made on the front of my box..
Then I opened my box, and did the same on the inside of the lid.
But FINALLY, on the inside, I was able to take a step into a more developed
3-D kind of space.
The piece was expressing my frustration and anger at all of the injustices coming to light - or rather, being forced into my view. I used the images of the Goddesses Kali, the Destroyer, and Oshun, Defender of the Poor and Warrior against Injustice, to express the archetypes of feminine sacred rage, and inside I created a treasure chest of the gifts that these Goddesses offer. Not only was creating this piece cathartic for me, I also found myself in a place I haven’t been for a while: PLAY. I was creating art with no other purpose than to please myself. All the work I make DOES have to please me in order for me to create it, but I haven’t made anything that didn’t also have one of these questions attached to it: What series is it a part of? Did it reflect my current style? And how could I market it?
I really liked playing. WHEEEE! So I decided to make May my 30 Days of Play! Aren’t I rhyme-y? So starting May 1, every day I am going to make a piece of work with only my entertainment as the goal. I have in my art supply stash quite a few substrates that can be used as you can see below....
.....and each day I will choose from this pile and put something on it that pleases me.
And I want to share with you my May of Play! Simply join my newsletter list on this page, and every morning in the month of May you will receive in your inbox an image of what I have created. AND as a special treat just for my newsletter folks, I’m going to offer each piece for sale, starting at $5 the first day and going up $1 each consecutive day, plus shipping. If one of them pleases you as well, just be the first to reply to my email.
Doesn’t that sound FUN? I’m psyched. And feel free to share with your friends if you think they’d like to play with us as well. Simply send them this link:
so that they can sign up for my newsletter, THE FEMIN-ARTIST.
As December has transitioned into January and 2016 has given way to 2017, we not only find ourselves in a new year but a new era. In this new era, a group of people have managed to position themselves in places of power, and the agenda they are forcing through in extremely dodgy, sneaky and downright unethical ways chills the heart of most liberal, moderate, and some conservative citizens in this country.
This is usually the time we bust out pieces of paper and jot up some New Year's Resolutions. The first on the list for most women usually is "lose x amount of weight." Well, bitches, we don't got time for that.
In point of fact, there are many things that we do not have time for. These are things that in order to fit into the ideal mold of feminity in this culture we have struggled with and also many of us have tried and tried to shed, recognizing the waste of energy. This waste of time has used up energy we could've been using to become our best and most powerful selves. And yet, we still fall back to not feeling "good enough" because we can't check the boxes of the Perfect Western Woman. There are also negative attitudes that flourish in our competitive patriarchy that do not foster the culture we need to fight the good fight.
Bitches, we are being called. I give you permission - nay, I ORDER you to let this shit go. As soldiers on the ground in this new era, the only thing that matters is what serves you and your fellow human beings. And it's not how your butt looks in jeans.
Here is the top 5 shit turds we don't got time for.
1. Losing Weight/Being "Pretty". Now is not the time for diminishing ourselves. We need to be LARGER, not SMALLER. The number on your scale is inconsequential. What matters is how strong you are. Can you run away while holding your breath, when they tear gas your march? Can you sit for long periods of time waiting for your local representative to acknowledge your presence and hear your concerns? Can you punch someone in the throat if they threaten you or your children? (Ok I can't do that one either but maybe I should sign up for some local boxing lessons....) Look for opportunities to strengthen your bod, and keep it clean, healthy and happy. That includes eating ice cream or cheese + bread. Also take care of your teeth and eyes. If you do these things, you can give no fucks to anything else: not how young you "should" look, how long and flowing your hair is, or how well you apply your make up. Also, please avoid clothing that constricts or inhibits your ability to breathe or move. Don't got time for that shit.
2. Being Nice. Now, I'm not suggesting you should become mean (remember: when they go low....). However, things like apologizing for your opinions, ending your sentences as a question, "softening" your vocabulary - bitch, we don't got time for this. Speak your truth: calmly, authentically, and as loud and often as you need to.
3. Judging and/or Engaging in Petty Disagreements with Your Fellow Bitches. We are on the same team, bitches. Comparing and competing ain't going to get us where we need to go. Take everyone at face value and for what they bring to the Resistance. Engage in debates on solutions only. And bitch, if you bring up the Bernie/DNC debacle or how your conscience is clear because you voted third party, I don't got time for you.
4. Playing the Martyr. Bitch, you are not that special. Just join your sisters and do your job. We don't got time to feel sorry for you. We have a Resistance to mount and evil to eradicate. Enough with the whining. If you are tired or overwhelmed, take the time or participate in the activities you need to recharge. Ask for help if you need it. We expect you to be fueled and ready to suit up. You trying to do everything alone and burning out, or seeking sympathy and not solutions for your woes, serves no one.
5. Questioning your Value. Are you good enough? Of course you are good enough! Don't use that as an excuse for not stepping up. You will never be ready. You will never know everything there is to know. But are you willing to learn, are you willing to work as a team, are you willing to be your best in each moment? If you are, well then. Bitch, let's get to work.
*Some of you may take exception to the term "bitch". I realize it has been used disparragingly as a term for a woman who is subordinate or submissive to someone else, or as a description of a mean and unpleasant woman. I prefer the definition "female dog" or even "female wolf". You really do not want to mess with the Alpha Female. And that bitch does not have time for no kinds of shit.