Saturday, March 11, 2017

My newest book: Buddha

paintings and meditations


"Buddha, paintings and meditations" is a catalog of eighty mixed media encaustic paintings depicting the Buddha. Each painting is high resolution, full page color, and unique, yet the Buddha reminds us of how much we are alike. We all possess the same human potential. Groupings of similar Buddha silhouettes are preceded with an explanation or meditation that led to the creative processes. This art book features a collection of mixed media encaustic paintings inspired by Buddhist thinking.
 Magcloud version -                                                      

Amazon version -

It's been an educational journey, learning about self publishing and all the options available on the internet these days. Different publishing websites require different files, and until I had hard copies in hand I wasn't sure which of these websites offered the best quality paper, or if font sizes were in sync with page sizes, or if my book cover was attention grabbing, or if..... the list went on and on! Most importantly, I questioned if photographed encaustic paintings translated successfully onto paper. 

I don't feel art books are meant to be published as e-books. Maybe I am a bit old fashioned but when I want to see a colorful image I also want to be able to touch the page or better yet, see it in person. This meant I had to upload and order printed copies of the book from every website I used. 

The best two versions I have found to date are Amazon and Magcloud. Both of these websites average the same production and shipping costs, both offer copies on demand, although Amazon does produce books much quicker. The quality of the book was very similar from both websites, but if you hold copies side by side the Magcloud version feels slightly heavier, almost silkier (and I thought a better quality). 

The book is currently available on both websites and can be seen in links below.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Re-working Old Paintings (and making them new)

Which painting is the revision?
It can be a scary decision to go back into a painting that felt finished and successful at one point... and as time goes by our vision and skills develop and change. Hopefully we become more adept. 

The paintings on the left are the updated versions. Each of these has been reworked using shellac burn techniques. Wisteria (top row) incorporates organic texture with the addition of white, pink, and yellow ochre shellac burn plus I toned down the flower blooms. I also added twigs with wax medium to build up the canopy, creating lots of three dimensional textures.

The Red Barn (bottom row) has become a more dramatic and fluid piece, the addition of a shellac burn loosened up what felt like a very tight, controlled perspective of the vineyard. I have heard mixed reviews on the changes I made to this piece but I am much happier since revising and I have to trust myself!

In addition to reworking older paintings, teaching weekly classes, and preparing for upcoming exhibitions, I just completed an art book featuring the Face of Buddha series. You can preview and/or purchase the book here - Buddha, paintings and meditations

This is my second art book and allows me to share the full impact of an entire series of work. My first book, A Year of the Full Moon, can be previewed and/or purchased here - A Year of the Full Moon

Art is my safe, happy place. During times of turmoil and political unrest, the art world keeps me centered, stimulated, focused, and calm.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Evolution of a Creative Process

It's funny to me, that I have paintings from several years ago and at the time I thought they were completed, satisfying art works. A few years go by, and what was once successful now looks incomplete or unsuccessful. Maybe this is typical of an artist as we are always evolving.

Because the process of creating is just as important to me as the end result I can go back and re-work a painting without being inhibited or worried about "what if I ruin it".  I often say in the classes I teach that the worst thing that can happen to your painting by trying something new is you ruin it, but you will learn from the process, and you can always paint another.

The Buddha paintings are part of an ongoing series (Buddha) and a reminder to me to be kind, tolerant, and open (to change and differences). Below, the paintings on the left are the new "improved" versions. I have incorporated a heavier use of oil sticks, they fuse beautifully into wax medium and add a softness to the bold colors I had originally chosen for the bright red and bright green faces.

Classes resumed in January and one of my weekly demonstrations was the use of combining powder pigment with shellac, then fused with a torch into encaustic medium, creating organic textures. I love the color intertwined randomly to form various patterns. There is a combination of control and lack of control. 

I completed the piece below without thinking about anything but color and pattern, and as I had time to look at the end result I realized it was very similar to a watercolor painting I had completed over ten years ago! The first piece below is a demo from last week in class, the painting below it is from A Year of the Full Moon.

It made me smile to think even though I have immersed myself with the encaustic medium for the past ten years, the core of what inspires me hasn't change. I have learned and continue to learn about the wonders of painting with beeswax (encaustic) and I continue to experiment with new techniques and materials, but the true vision, sensibility, and style of my work is the same as the years I spent engaged with impressionistic watercolor techniques. It feels to me like I have gone full circle and my love for impressionism shines through. 

Monday, December 19, 2016


It's not even Christmas and the weather has been frigid here in Chicago! Frozen in time, the winter landscape has become my most recent painting inspiration.

"Forever Green"
encaustic, pan pastel, oil sticks 

"Night Shadows"
encaustic and oil sticks

encaustic, oil stick, and photo transfer

Unseasonably cold weather combined with recent life events has shifted my preferred color palette. Black, white, and neutral tones are predominant, stark scenery and a depth in landscape created by textured wax layers and shadows buried deep in the winter woods, begins this journey.

"Forever Green" is the exception that incorporates a bit of color - Turkish Green Umber, Payne's Grey oil sticks, and Burnt Umber pan pastel - just enough to give a hopeful glimpse that life will return once the snow and ice melts.

Haikus written by Natsume Sōseki capture the essence of these new works:

"Over the wintry
forest, winds howl in rage
with no leaves to blow."

"Watch birth and death:
The lotus has already
Opened its flower."

There is one more painting that needs to be added to this series... I have a 30"x40" panel waiting for paint.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


The month of December is always hectic for me, not just because of the day to day seasonal chaos, but fall class sessions end and I start planning my exhibition schedule for the 2017 outdoor festival season.

Applying to a show does not guarantee acceptance, the shows are juried and submitting a cohesive body of work requires thought and planning. The Face of Buddha series continues to grow and keeps me centered. New additions to Elemental land inspired paintings keep me grounded, literally, and will be a part of The Chicago Art Show at Navy Pier in April 2017.

I currently have work being exhibited at several locations.

Chicago Art Source Gallery
Winter Salon
a few pieces from the show

Evanston Art Center
Holiday Art Expo
The Face of Buddha, a group from the series

Available for purchase directly off of the website here are my small works in both Miniature Moments (solo show) and Holiday Small Works at Copley Society of Art

I believe an artist that is open to continual growth is always learning and changing. My work continues to take me on a journey, and I am grateful to be open to the possibilities.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Solo Show, "Miniature Moments", photos and more

After a whirlwind visit to Massachusetts, attending my opening reception and gallery talk, a visit to Amherst and the western part of the state (during one of the most beautiful times of the year), I am just now coming down from the high! 

Originally I had shipped 35 pieces and before the official opening the gallery called and asked if I could bring more work. They had already sold pieces off of their website and they plan to sell directly off the walls. The show runs until December 24, and with more work they will be able to replenish to prevent wall space from looking empty.

The press release explains the motivation and inspiration behind these small works and my connection to the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute.

press release here
entire exhibition here 

Gallery Wall

 Wide angle views

Gallery entrance on Newbury Street, Boston

Before the gallery talk on Saturday afternoon

As a result of my visit to Boston and Amherst, I just completed 5 new miniature works that will be included during the holiday show season. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Revisiting, A New Direction

Landscape, nature, organic shapes and colors, are always a part of my creative process. Breaking down an idea visually to it's core, creating space with simple shapes and form, is an on going challenge in my work. You have probably heard the expression "less is more"... that is the underlying theme in these new abstract works.

I plan to continue exploring layered textures using encaustic (purified beeswax combined with resin and pigment), pan pastels, and various other mixed media materials in order to create visual and literal depth.

I want to take you on a journey into wide open landscape and space.

"On the Water"
10" x 8" mixed media on panel

8" x 10" mixed media on panel

8" x 8" mixed media on panel

I have also been focusing on the Face of Buddha, this series can be viewed in it's entirety here.
Sticking with the "less is more" concept has been a challenge, that's why I like doing it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Upcoming Solo Show

Next month I will be in Boston at the Copley Society of Art, celebrating the opening of my miniature works featured in the Red Room Gallery. I will have the opportunity to talk about the inspiration behind the two distinctly different body of works, cityscape vs. landscape, and how the two places I have lived impact my creative inspiration and vision. 

The opening is Thursday October 13, 5:30-7:30pm
The gallery talk is Saturday October 15, 1-3pm

These miniature works are mostly 2.5"x3.5" floated and mounted in 10"x10" shadow box frames, are available for purchase, and will be sold directly off the walls (and a great way to find affordable art for the upcoming holiday season).

More information and a preview of the work will be available on the Copley Society of Art website here

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to School

My teaching schedule will be resuming in September and the last few weeks of summer vacation have allowed me the time to play with paints, finish working on my upcoming solo show, and have the time to do nothing!

"Miniature Moments" opens October 12 in the Red Room Gallery at the Copley Society of Art in Boston. Most of the pieces are minis, 2.5 x 3.5 presented in shadowbox frames however I have also included three 12x12's exemplifying the contrast between the two places I have lived, Chicago and the New England coast. Inspiration came from my childhood visits to the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Chicago Art Institute, and my desire to create miniature dioramas that transport to a different time and place.

The opening reception is October 13 followed by an artist talk October 15. I am looking forward to re-connecting with twenty five years of a New England past. Specific show information soon to be available on the Copley Society website -

12" x 12" mixed media

"Wrigley Building"
12" x 12" mixed media

I will also have a painting included in the upcoming fall show hosted at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, juried by Paula Daher, sponsored by the Copley Society.

"Birch and Moss"
24" x 18" encaustic

The Face of Buddha series continues, as I work toward my goal of 100 Faces of Buddha to complete the series. The piece below transformed as it became more sculptural than past works. The larger size also allowed me a freer hand, creating vibrant colors with heavy textures. You can see the complete series here - Face of Buddha

"Dancing Dragonflies"
30" x 30" mixed media

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Buddha knows

I admit, I was nervous to share the "Face of Buddha" series of paintings at my first summer art festival, although I was sure I wanted to display these paintings as a single grouping, similar to an installation.

First installation at the Wells Street Festival of Arts -

Second installation at the Art in the Village festival -

Panoramic photo of all 3 tent walls, I also incorporated landscape paintings when the buddha installation shrunk down in size - 

My biggest concern was that patrons would view these paintings as trendy and not understand the simple message behind each of them, that even though we are all physically, intellectually, spiritually different, in essence we are the same. My vision for this series has been to create variety using color, texture, shapes, to impress an idea without having to say a single word. The entire series can be viewed on my website here Face of Buddha      

I exceeded my expectations at these two shows and have spent time trying to replenish the practically sold out series! Here is one of my newest groupings designed for a specific patron after the shows ended -

And all that remains in the series (for now) - 

It's been a hard working, exhausting summer so far and I am looking forward to a much needed break (on vacation) for the coming week. When I return, I need to shift gears and continue developing new work for my upcoming solo exhibition at the Copley Society of Art this October. The theme of the show is "small packages" and I plan to feature small works inspired by my time living in New England as well as life back in Chicago.

I also resume teaching fall sessions at both the Evanston Art Center and North Shore Art league, class information and registration will be posted in August.