The many faces of “Broadstairs” (Origin story)

#NoPanelLeftBehind, Art, Exhibition, Narrative, Origin story, Story, Works In Progress

One painting, from start to finish, in 768 days:

This 24″x 24″ painting has undergone a surprising number of transformations before finally settling on the Broadstairs piece currently exhibiting at Northwest Encaustics.  As one of the more epic #NoPanelLeftBehind pieces, I decided to trace Broadstairs back to its origins, and offer snapshots of its evolution over the past 2 years…


March 13, 2017

Most of my pieces begin with writing…whether it be part of a journal entry, passage from a book, lyric, poem. The base layers here also includes wood glue burn, yellow india ink, and several clear coats of encaustic medium.


March 13, 2017

School’s out, which means my studio assistant is on hand to scrape back the layers. Always happy to let the kid loose on my paintings. I consider this a good return on my investment.😉


March 15, 2017

My morning journal entry was all about how Everything is Connected.  So I guess it should be no surprise that this would spill over into the studio…


May 2, 2017

Today is Scraping day. These wax scraps are SO beautiful!! They remind me of tulip petals.  Trying to figure out how/where I can make use of these…


May 8, 2017

UGH! I know most pieces go through several ugly stages as they evolve, but this one is a bit much.  Still…playing around with some ideas for the “petals”.


June 12, 2017

I found The Perfect home for those beautiful wax scrapings in another painting!!🤩 They work beautifully as  beautiful blow-away tulip petals on this Self-Portrait piece I’m working on.  It was just what this piece needed, an indication of how fleeting memories can be. I live for these Aha! moments…


December 20, 2017

This piece has been on a looooong Time Out.  But Vacation means All Day Art Dates in PJs with the kid, listening to our favorite podcasts.  I needed to seriously disrupt the surface of this piece, so I invited her to have at it!  And I love having the kid’s hand in my artwork, at any stage.


February 6, 2018

And now, for something completely different!  I drew my version of an elephant, then painted over the piece with oil and cold wax.  Traces of the red with the yellow “sun” remain visible.  This elephant hung in our living room for 6 months.


October 28, 2018

Re-purposing my elephant piece, which was in limbo and going nowhere. After numerous failed attempts at “making friends with gray”, I’m determined to keep painting and scraping and embedding and fussing til I feel good about this.  Using oil paint and cold wax medium, I want this piece to evoke large craggy rocks.


November 1, 2018

I found Fall color inspiration on my morning walk — a blanket golden ginkgo leaves on the wet asphalt.  This was just what I needed to get this piece over the hump. I see now where this piece wants to go. Feeling grateful for breakthrough moments of love and light…


November 27, 2018

This piece is back on the easel after a much needed break…”Out of Darkness, Light” (24″×24″).  I like where this piece ended up, but it doesn’t feel done.  So I’m putting it up in our house so I can live with it in our space.  Often times, with this casual daily contact, I start to see what’s working, what’s not, and where the piece wants to go next…


February 13, 2019

Only one hour in the studio today before I head to work. I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to destroy this too-precious, overly-controlled piece. So today, with little time to think, I took my demo up a notch.  I scraped down the entire piece, then covered it with stream-of-consciousness scribbles in French, using oil pastel and graphite, writing with my left hand.


February 13, 2019

I scraped the piece down, and layered 3 different whites over top, then used solvent to dissolve the surface. I look forward to seeing this with fresh eyes after my gallery shift today. Hopefully the original piece doesn’t surface again!!!


February 13, 2019

Came home and made one alteration…and now the piece has reached a resting point. “Reconciliation“: 24″×24” – oil& cold wax over encaustic on a cradled wood panel.


February 18, 2019

Taking a moment to bathe this piece in some much-needed warmth. The transformation continues…


February 26, 2019

The painting of 3 overlapping rings went thru several more iterations today before finally landing here.


April 15, 2019

Happy Monday!! Taxes are done, kid’s back in school. After taking a month off of painting to work on my sculptural piece (new for me/fun to do/not my forte)–I’m So Happy to return to painting. And nothing brings me more pleasure than radically making over pieces that weren’t quite doing it for me!! From white to black…


April 20, 2019

Calling this piece Done!! This piece has the distressed/topographic feel I’ve been aiming for.  When I asked my friend Connie for title suggestions, she pulled up images on her phone of the white cliffs of Dover.  And suddenly it hit me.  The boarding school I went to, between the ages of 7-10, was in Broadstairs, Kent (20 miles north of Dover) where we had the same chalky cliffs.

And then I remembered…my school had a separate boarding house for the younger students.  The older students boarded in the main school building across the street, which also contained the cafeteria, the gym, etc.  So twice a day every day, for breakfast and dinner, we would head over to the main school via a secret, winding, underground chalk tunnel, lit sporadically with hanging lamps.

With this memory resurrected, I looked at this piece, the gold lit passage across the white distressed chalky surface, and I realized that the final version of this piece had finally arrived.  I was done.

A short video reveals the peekaboo bling.☆

Shine On!

#NoPanelLeftBehind, Art, Exhibition, Narrative, Origin story, Works In Progress

Every painting has an origin story.  My initial vision for this blog was to show the evolution of pieces, from start to finish.  (If I could, I would name my blog, “The Journey Is Everything.”)  You can track the progress of all my pieces on my Instagram feed.

Here is the origin story of Shine On – my rusty sunflower piece, which has taken on many forms over the past year…

8/12/17 – Wrote out my morning meditation on engaged, contemplative imagination. #BeginAgain


8/14/17 – Morning Meditation (final).  For my COCA Residency, I took this 24″x24″ white painting, and brought it to life in a 90″x 90″ 3D installation ~ The Truth Has No Borders.  This shipping container installation combined 40 years of work in writing, music, film and art into a single exhibit examining identity, family, culture and migration.


2/10/18 – I lied earlier when I posted the white painting, Morning Meditation, and said it was my “Final” layer. The following week, I was bored to death of it. So I taped it back up, and went back to work.


2/12/18 – Shoreline. Came downstairs to find the kid laying out wax scraps on my painting, telling me it needed more texture. So I spent the day fusing the wax scraps onto the painting, and adding silver leaf.


7/19/18 – And now, for something completely different.  I scraped and torched the Shoreline piece all the way down to the panel. 🔥🤩  The free write on the base of this panel was suffocating under the layers of valiant, earnest effort. Now it (and I) can finally breathe again.#BlowtorchTherapy #NoPanelLeftBehind #BeginAgain


7/31/18 – Today I return to a mostly empty studio, and start the day by making sunflower seeds ~a perfect meditation for beginning again.


8/1/18 – Got my first coat of rust on the sunflower seeds.


8/2/18 – Conquering fears today about not being able to draw by just painting these petals on free hand. More coats to follow. 😅 (I needed some way to pass time while the second coat of rust dried on the sunflower seeds!)


10/16/18Shine On! Applying new knowledge about color mixing to this piece, which is vying for a spot in pop-up exhibit/talk next week (“My Life in 24 Frames“, 10/23 at 6pm, Columbia City Gallery).