Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I forgot how important sketching was. For example...this is a study sketch for the face of a portrait I haven't started. This angle looked easy to me...and yet...lots of eraser. That being said, erasing is much easier in pencil than paint.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

1 More Done!

I made this goal for myself starting in February when I moved in to my new place. Application deadlines for MFA programs are in January and February and all need 20 finished pieces. For the first few months I didn't sweat it...I had all the time in the world. And now it's almost December...and I have 8 done. 8. So I realized the painful realization this weekend that I'm most likely not going to make my deadline. I know, I know, grad school isn't going anywhere, and it's fine to go a year later or a year after that or in 10 years. It's just a disappointing realization...that not only am I not going to make my goal but that I have another year of working jobs that I don't care about and am one more year further from my goal.

BUT - it feels good to have another one completed. So I'll focus on that feeling for now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wooohooo almost done!

Well here's some progress! I'm almost done - just a few more details and we'll be good to go. I'm feeling good about this and figuring out how to paint freckles is challenging but fun :)
And a close up:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#10 The Athlete

Based on a few concepts of art history...mostly ancient Greek art and Degas' ballerina paintings. I wanted to convey the athleticism and grace of these famous paintings but in a contemporary setting and pose. Thinking about sports, skills and endurance, nothing really trains the body like yoga. Also, yoga is a hugely popular and is able to be accessible and elitist at the same time. So this ideal frame in an elegant yet strong pose is my interpretation of today's elite athlete. Here are a few progress shots:

It's so easy to get discouraged

I'm not perfect (in many more ways than as a painter, but let's focus on that imperfection for now). I've always been pretty good at relating semi-realistically what I see in front of me on paper with pencil or paint. But it's never come easily. I measure, I draw, I erase, draw again, etc etc. I'm sure this is the case with the most artists....but there are sometimes when I just can't get it 100% right. And until that point, I'm frustrated beyond belief. The painting I last blogged about, I caught the first mistake pretty soon on and fixed it. Then there was just something wrong with the eyes...and I ended up pretty much trashing the left side of the face and starting over. Much has changed (well, I can tell...can you?) and it's still imperfect and I'm still frustrated. So here's what I have now -- and a previous stage to prove it's changed :)

This is the first draft I was happy with until I realized the axis of her face was totally off. And one eye was way off...although I did like the treatment and finished look of the eyes at this point.
And now. A better likeness to Ellen, but still completely unfinished and hopefully it'll all come together with a tad more detail. I couldn't be happier with the hair - the one constant (and for once, easiest part) positive of this process.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

#9 The Portrait of the Model

I was thinking...since I'm using the same model for all my paintings, perhaps it would be interesting to have a portrait of her...as herself. And who knows, as I finish it, she may fit a stereotype that I'll want to use the portrait for. But for now, this is Ellen. She is my beautiful friend and I'm excited to finally paint her with the pink hair she had when she first started posing for me:
And because it's always fun to see the progress and mistakes that have been corrected, here she is with a nose that is much too long:

7 Done! (13 to go...)

Party girl is finally done. Feels really stinking good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#7 The Party Girl

Part of the reason I love painting is seeing the process of a new work take form. Sometimes I have the entire composition mapped out before I begin. Sometimes I wing it. This one, "The Party Girl," is referring mostly to embarrassing drunk photos that get shared online all too often. In this day and age, when real consequences don't seem to exist and no one really understands the eternal life of something posted online, I felt it prevalent. The pose is inspired from Luke Hillestad's "To Set His Torso Free." When I saw this painting I was amazed by how fluid and dynamic the body looked. So here're some in progress shots. I'm feeling close to done on the figure...now to complete the rest (my least favorite).

Friday, October 15, 2010

St Paul Fall Art Crawl

Unlike with the Spring Art Crawl, this time, I knew what to expect. I knew people didn't walk around with the intention of buying. And if they would buy, they usually wouldn't buy anything over $50 unless they came specifically shopping. Also with Lowertown St Paul's face being ripped open 24/7 by bulldozers and pipes sticking out of the ground getting ready for a transit system that won't be here for 4 more years (don't get me started), we knew attendance would be low. That being said, I used this art crawl as a debut of my new series and showed paintings that only my friends had seen previous. I was obviously very nervous about this. But it was wonderful. I put up an artist statement (which most people read) to introduce the meanings of the pieces, which I think helped my purpose a lot. I got a lot of laughs and a lot of comments - which really validated this series for me. The fact that the public can relate is what it's all about - and that keeps me painting.
And a shot of my apartment because it is just so cute:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Still coming along...

Decisions, decisions. I hate these decisions. After a wonderful and much needed crit/art talk tonight, I am faced with more of them. The thought of when to stop was a major theme. Take this piece for example. The bust is almost complete, the figure is getting there, the face is close to done (just needs hair and eyebrows, my least favorite part), and yet the background is entirely schizophrenic. On one hand, I could furnish this room...painstakingly so, so there's no real room for interpretation. The style is completely uniform and the viewer doesn't have to think much. OR. I could leave it a little more open for interpretation, add some visual interest without adding too much. But this could look sloppy. So...the question is, how will it succeed? How much is too much? How little is too little? When will I truly be done with any of these?!
...stay tuned.

Profile Pic!

Still working on the background, hair, clothes, etc.... But done with the face. Best face yet, I think:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Selfportraitist

My inspiration for this piece is the all too familiar MySpace or Facebook profile picture. Since everyone now is a photographer with their digital cameras and iPhones, some take it upon themselves to find their most flattering angle...by taking picture upon picture of themselves, altering the contrast in photoshop and coming up with the perfect, sexiest, most alluring picture of yourself. I would say most of us are guilty of at least doing this once... Perhaps VanGogh and Kahlo are the most well known painters who would do this same thing. So taking the well known 3/4 face pose, and adding the familiar arm out needed to snap this picture....here's a very rough draft of my new piece:
Now...what kind of hair to give her? I'm thinking emo...

Friday, September 10, 2010


Referencing art history is a huge part of my series. So for my portrait of a rich housewife, I based my composition and pose on Venus and Olympia. These pantings have different types of women, different messages, but seen through the scope of a time are very similar. I hope to bring yet another type of woman to this pose. The obvious sexuality speaks for itself. But this housewife is not a symbol, a goddess, or a hooker. She *could* be any of these things...but above all, she is a real person in 21st century America. Which, in essence, is what I'm trying to communicate. Visual aids:

Venus of Urbino - Titian
Olympia - Manet
And mine :)
G-rated close up : )
It's so hard to photograph oil paintings...especially one this big. This painting is 6.5' x 4' It looks much better in person. So come see it! Art Crawl Oct 8-10!

Now What?

Alright. So here he is. He's done. One problem, what to do with the background? Is this why art professors always stay to work on the whole piece at the same time?
Anyway, here he is in all his Ed Hardy glory:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Almost Done

Gorilla Juicehead Guido? He's coming along!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I've never been very good at them. That being said. Here was my one "done" painting when I considered it done:
And now:
I think it's officially done now! *Celebrate*

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In Progress (more than one at a time fits this status)

The way I paint is...sporadic. Maybe this is not best. But it is how I cope with paint that takes a while to dry and the constant frustration. This frustration comes from working, re-working, continuing to work one little inch on the canvas. And after all this working...it's not perfect. Well, what gives? So here's another morsel of a piece to ponder on. This is my portrait of an "intellectual" person. Referencing Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson's portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley (below).
And here's my contemporary take on heroic thinking:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In Progress

Here's a sneak peak of a new one I'm working on. The main reference is David's painting of Napoleon:
The composition is still on it's way....
Somehow Francis Bacon worked his way into my painting... Just a rough draft now, more to come.

Lighting a Fire

For those of you who've been following this blog, you know that early this year, I came off the road to domesticate yet again and get started on my portfolio for grad school application. The first few months I was home I didn't touch a paintbrush. A mix between being busy getting settled into my new place and laziness coupled with the thought that I had almost a year to complete 20 paintings resulted in me wasting a lot of time. Well now, my friends, I am feeling stressed. 6 paintings started. 1 completely done. 20 by winter. Yikes, indeed. I've started giving myself deadlines and disappointing friends by being antisocial. This week has been productive. And something that I have completely lost the feeling of, inspiration by a fellow artist, has come back into my life. Lighting a fire, so to speak.

I first heard of contemporary oil painter Luke Hillestad through a friend from high school. I looked at his work and was amazed by the way he evoked the classic masters of the medium but with a new, fresh dramatic light. I reached out to him (via Facebook) and he responded that day which really shocked me. A talented successful artist being open and willing to communicate with others?!?! No way! He mentioned a talk he was giving at the Vine Art Center about his time spent in Norway studying under Odd Nerdrum. I got to go, and boy was I happy I did. His paintings are beautiful online. But in person....they are much more emotional and lifelike. Much like my reaction when seeing my first Vermeer in person. I had always thought of Vermeer as incredibly talented, but a rough painter. However, in person, you literally are waiting for the subject to move off the canvas. Being so close to these masterful works was so inspiring. Please check out Luke's webpage and if you have the chance to see his work in person, I would highly suggest it. Such a local talent is hard to find!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Exit Through the Gift Shop

I recently caught a film at The Uptown Lagoon Theatre called Exit Through the Gift Shop. I had heard little about this film, only that it involved a very well known (and liked - by me) street artist known as Banksy. The film started out promising, showing a somewhat goofy and likable man, Theirry Guetta, who enjoyed nothing more in his life but filming. I won't give away the pace or events of the movie, but this love transforms into somewhat of an obsession. Through connections he gets to observe some of the most notorious street artists in the world.

If you're not familiar with the works of Shephard Fairey, as I was not, remember this image?
This is by far Fairey's most universally famous print. However, he's quite well known for his images of Andre the Giant and others plastered on buildings. Fairey, as well as most street artists, has taken a page out of the pop art book and made repetitious marks on the cities as trademarks and political statements. None have done so much "damage" as Banksy. His identity remains unknown to the authorities, which for him is quite a good thing. He appears quite a bit in the film, presenting hilarious commentary, however, you never do get to see his face. Banksy's art has always inspired and bothered people in his native UK because he's really not afraid to expose his opinion. Case and point:
This film was not only interesting because it showed the process of the street art - in some cases involving Disneyland security - but because it opened the discussion for what defines "art" quite poignantly. *See previous post on Jeff Koons for more opinions* As Banksy points out in the film, Andy Warhol repeated images to make them meaningless, when someone else copies Andy Warhol now....what would that mean? If nothing at all? Overall, it exposes the art world as being pretentious sheep who would never stop and ask themselves these questions. Does the viewing public even care at all?

Go see it : )

FINISHED - for now...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Depot Tavern

I woke up this morning with the dream of watching excellent futbol with a Guinness in one hand and a fork in the other shoveling a Cornish pasty into my mouth. Unfortunately, more than just I had this dream. So when we came bounding expectingly at the door of Brit's Pub we were met by more than 100 people just lined up around the side of the building waiting to get in. Not wanting to wait in the rain for a very packed bar, we checked out the Local...then Newsroom...then Keirans. All were packed full to the brim with fans and non fans alike. We were hungry......SO hungry. Looking across the street, we noticed that the Depot Tavern, attached to First Ave, was finally open! The giant garage door was open, providing a rain-free, empty tabled haven to us weary travelers.

The service was quick, food was great, and viewing was fantastic. Because they'd only been open a couple days, the owner was giving out some samples so we got to try the delicious cheese curds....and oh my. Oh my. Cheese curds.... They have an afternoon deal, which I got, for a Leine's, burger or hot dog and fries for $9.95. The burger was big and delicious, fries were great, and a Leine's is always good. Then, free pints for every US goal! (Unfortunately we only got the 1 goal...) Other than the specials and free cheese curds, they do have quite the beer selection and everything on the menu looked fantastic. Case and point, Lindsay and her Diamond Dog. I'm pretty sure this was a hot dog wrapped in bacon inside a pretzel roll...
The game was great - as was the venue - overall a wonderful afternoon. Check out The Depot Tavern the next time you're in Downtown Minneapolis!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Paintings take a long time to finish...

I didn't realize how long I've been working on this piece until I saw the date on the last post. Yikes. At least I'm closer to done now:
This picture was taken 2 weeks ago, and although I have worked on it since then, it doesn't look that much different. The finished product will not have any more additions or subtractions, I've made all the decisions I need to make, now it's just perfection time.

The discussion of pricing art is always an awkward one. Do you want to price it what you think its worth? Based on how many hours it took to complete? How contemporary paintings are priced? Well if I wanted to make a certain dollar amount per hour...it would have to be in the hundreds of thousands...which would be pretty ridiculous (albeit wonderful) to realistically sell at. Maybe once I'm dead and gone? In all seriousness, I don't do it for the money (honestly) so the hundred or so hours I put into a painting is all about educating myself and perfecting something I love to do and want to see.

This piece is the first in the series that will *hopefully* get me into graduate school. 1 (almost) done, 19 to go :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Progress

This post is introducing a new integral part of my blog of works in progress. The process of making the art is almost more important to me than the finished product. In fact, after I've completed a piece, it's common for me to hate it for quite some time. I don't always have a plan for the exact look/composition of the piece, major decisions are made along the way. One of the major decisions is color choice. We see flesh color and think...hmm...some kind of tan with pink should work for a flesh color. But think about it. The color of blood is red/blue/purple. Then layers of skin which is not an intense pigment itself, but layers and layers of translucent material. When creating flesh on a painting, in order to achieve the depth and appropriate color/shading, I must use layers. With anything, clothing, sky, trees, etc, there has to be depth of color. For me, using color out of the tube is never appropriate. Black is never just black, there is another tint to it.
The above image is a painting I just started. The concept might be a little too heavy, but I'll do a separate post about that : ) This is just to show the process of layering. I mix a "flesh" color and place it on the canvas where I think the body will go. Then I create the undertone, because that first color I mix will not be deep enough to pass off as skin, and go over the area of skin. For this painting I decided to go predominately violet for the shadows of skin, so that's where I start. Then I add white mixed with turpentine so that it's almost like layers of translucent skin on top. Also, notice that the dress is black, but there are other colors in it too, right? A little green, a little violet. This doesn't let the object get too flat and cartoon-like. More to come as this layer dries and I add another : )

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


"Welcome to 24 hours of sensory overload" is what my taxi driver so accurately pointed out upon my arrival to the city of Las Vegas. That really is the best way to describe it. So many things to look at in a small cramped in place its hard not to run into people as you're shuffling down the strip, so many Ed Hardy t-shirt-ed tools to make fun of, so many stumbling plastic surgery disasters in stilettos, and even the occasional tranny who makes you do a prolonged double take to figure out: boy or girl?! (Usually it was boy, the muscular shoulders always give them away...)

I went to visit my sister, Katrina, who was attending the WPPI Photography conference at the MGM Grand. I was only there a total of 42 hours because of layovers and times of available flights, and I just happened to get sick the day I arrived, so I really only got a snapshot of Vegas, and I must say, I didn't DO Vegas as most do. We stayed at Excalibur, which was affordable, clean and cute. The customer service might have been the worst I have ever experienced. Ever. I guess when you're a destination place, you don't have to worry about making sure your customers are loyal... We got to check out the other casinos and took a drive down the strip to see how all these massive hotels/casinos all fit! The Aria is such an impressive and beautiful complex. The fountains there were probably my favorite. I of course loved the Bellagio. The floral arrangements were amazing as well as the Chihuly glass. Paris was beautiful as well as the Venetian. It really is impressive how the designers really hit the nail on the head of these places while putting a whimsical vegas-y touch to them. I couldn't help but think it'd be a dream to work on one of those casinos!

Major highlights:
-Taking a road trip through the desert to the ghost town of Rhiolyte, NV. We drove through a fluffy snow storm to get there, and despite the 100 mph winds, it was quite beautiful and fun to walk around/take pictures. (My camera is broken, so go to www.stulagu.bigfolioblog.com to see the pics Kat took, they should be up in a couple days.)
-The dinner we had last night at Japonais in the Mirage was wonderful. 2 apps, 1 entree and 1 dessert for $45. Pretty great for Vegas... The food was really great!
-The lion habitat in the MGM was great! I never got to stand below a sleeping lion before! Plus the habitat was large and beautiful, which is always a good thing to see for these beautiful creatures in captivity.
-I won $15 on the slots. High Roller.
-And of course watching Lost. This is always a highlight, no matter where I am.

Major bummers:
-Not being able to see Love. Because of the times/dates of my flights, there were no performances I could actually get to. Major bummer.
-Being sick and not really being able to explore nearly as much as I wanted to!

My overall experience was fun. I enjoyed spending time with my sister and had fun exploring. That being said, Las Vegas really isn't my scene. I'm not a big gambler or drinker and naked girls and trashy marriage don't really get me that excited. And as hilarious as the Hangover was, I don't feel the need to recreate it as so many of the Ed Hardy wearing frat boys walking around did.... BUT, I had a great time and wouldn't mind going back when I have more time/money to go to shows!

Merlin's Rest

Located on 36th Ave S and Lake Street in Minneapolis is Merlin's Rest. While from the outside, it's easy to miss, and if you do notice it, the judgement may be made that its a hole in the wall. Then you are pulled by curiosity or thirst to go inside, and you find an authentic British pub, most likely with a few fiddlers in the corner or possibly an episode of Dr Who projected. It is quite possibly the best British pub in the cities (minus the fact that they won't make my favorite chips and cheese, guess Brit's is good for something). The atmosphere is what makes them. The service is wonderful, friendly, and laid back. If you're looking for a place to get "trashed, man" and rowdy, please go elsewhere. Merlin's Rest is for the groups of friends coming for conversation, the low maintenance date, those looking to be entertained by a talented band and enjoy a delicious Shepherd's Pie and a Guinness.

We have become quite the regulars there, as Jesse lives a few blocks away, so when we read the advertisement for their Valentine's Day special, we made the plans. Not being much of a romantic couple, not really into the pretension of expensive small portions, dozens of roses and other expensive temporary trinkets, this was perfect for us. The special included 3 courses for 2 for $35.00. For the price, you might have been skeptical, but the food was GREAT. The salad was good, the salmon I had was great with the most amazing green beens prepared in almond oil. Jesse had the chicken stuffed with mushrooms, and that was wonderful as well. *for you Veggies, they also offer a completely vegetarian menu option all the time* The tiramisu was homemade, served in a martini glass, and really quite good. The food was wonderful, the service quick and friendly and the price was perfect. I hope more people learn of the charm of Merlin's Rest! *Just not too many, I don't want to have to wait outside for a table....*

Friday, February 19, 2010


Being the new girl at work is an interesting experience. It’s like walking into high school, half way through Junior year, and trying to figure out, not only who the popular kids are, but who to avoid, and none of the regular rules apply. The one with all the power could be the tall woman in chunky heels with 80s hair and thick eyeliner, or the somewhat mousey lady with mom like hair and a very unsupportive undergarment. The office biotch usually is the woman who most resembles a nice grandmother, who, once you get to know her looks like she may sprout pointed teeth and bloodshot eyes if you don't say "yes" to her every demand. One must use her best judgement to decide who to kiss up to and who to give crazy attitude to.

In the corporate world, it’s the little things that matter. The little things include: having a comfortable chair, being within arms reach of candy, and learning the art of sly internet searching. Most people wouldn’t think of this, but when you’re sitting at a computer for 8 hours straight (well, ok 2 10 minute breaks and 1 30 minute lunch get to interrupt the 8 hours a bit) your butt better be sitting on something supportive YET plush. I lucked out BIG TIME at my new job, getting to sit on a Herman Miller chair….is like heaven for my tush and back. And when those customers who are either really old or really stupid who just really REALLY try my patience, I lean back in my Herman Miller chair and sigh, wishing that I could hang up on them.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I have not blogged in quite some time. Which, really, is a good thing. No blogging means I have better things to do or that the things I'm doing aren't very interesting. It's been a bit a both.

The news of the time is that I have officially quit my job and have been hired as a full time hotel reservations coordinator in downtown St Paul. Woofreakinghoo. I'm moving home : ) While I already miss the community of road warriors that I have been in, I am excited for this change and can only hope that those relationships I have built this past year will survive. I'm thrilled about the idea of having my own place (working on an artist loft in St Paul...90% sure it'll be mine next week!!!), having a job where I have set hours and expectations, and being close to the people who matter most. I will of course miss the travel. But the silver lining of all this is that the next time I go somewhere it'll be somewhere I really WANT to go to, for the amount of time I want.

Subsequently, from this life change, will come a blog change. This blog will now be more focused on my art and community I will become a part of. Please stay tuned : )

On a side note, not that it has anything to do with this disjointed post, I'm watching the documentary The Rape of Europa. It's quite fascinating how many treasures were destroyed by those evil Germans (I can say that, I'm German) and how many were saved by selfless people. It's very interesting, check it out if you can!