April of 2015, I’ll be showing recent watercolor paintings, constructions, and installations at Common Wealth Gallery. More on this later.

April of 2013, my one woman exhibition, “PEOPLE, Going about their Lives” was installed at the Common Wealth Gallery, Madison, WI

Highlight to go to the pdf for a tour through the show.5.10.13.PEOPLEgoing.abt.th.Lives.ppt(1)

I’m in the last leg of my upcoming show, “People, Going about their Lives” – (Opens April 8th at Common Wealth Gallery-more info to come.)  This piece, “People Watcher,” the little girl necessarily has weights upon her upper body and clothes pins to keep her clothes together. 

4.29.11 If you highlight this date, you can go on a tour of my spring, 2011,  exhibition in Madison, WI.  “Venus, her Clothes, her Things, her Issues.”

"Prairie"“Prairie” – watercolor/collage/yarn – 7′ x 5′ – 2009.

When I first learned about “prairie” I was fascinated to learn also that prairie roots go down many feet into the rich soil.  This recently completed piece is about those deep roots that anchor the grasses below the surface and the air currents and winds that move the grasses from above.

It’s January in Wisconsin.  I’m thinking how to post recent work on my web site when I no longer have my hands on the controls.  This new website is far and above my expertise, but I do know how to blog.  So from now on, I’ll keep you posted here on the blog.


“Living for Winter” Installation – 4.”   These torn pieces of watercolor paper take the form of snowflakes – some with paintings of wintertime inhabitants, some are torn pieces of watercolor paper, like frozen suspended water.   Currently, they hang from the rafters of my studio.


The election politics and our new President Obama have occupied my thoughts.


“Jump-starting the Economy” watercolor.


I also like to imagine scenarios by depicting a scene I’ve seen or imagined.  This time I’m extending the scenario over time, so that the scene changes but the general scenario is the same:


“Ogling Habit” – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – “Ogled – One”

One studio landlord asked me what he should put on the metal door label he planned to put on my studio door. I told him, “Watercolor Constructions.” That was intended as a joke. It’s taken me many years to be able to fully duplicate what happens in the studio to what visitors read on my studio door.

“Evening Nus” – an installation.

The watercolor constructions these days are more often than not larger than life size. The ones I’m working on now are about people.

“I-Pod Girl”

Visitors can’t hear the soft sound of paper tearing as I add pieces of content or tear away content that doesn’t belong. They can’t hear the gentle splashing of water as I clean off my brush. And most likely, they don’t care about that. That’s for me.

Look for these watercolor constructions in group shows.  I’ll be showing them one by one.  Some of them are many part installations, so I’ll be looking for curators who want to include installation pieces.

Life happened.  Even though I dearly love autumn leaves, in the mid nineteen nineties I became allergic to them.  I didn’t just get stuffed up; I got dangerously dizzy and nauseated.  So I stayed away and it was a loss to me of several months in the year for 10 years duration.

I was invited by the University of Wisconsin Arboretum to exhibit a one person show in the Steinhauer Trust Gallery in 2003. Here was a golden opportunity to take myself on an autumn walk that would not make me sick.  Twenty four artworks reminded me of the many years of living next to the Arb – the bike rides, the tour groups, walks with friends, the colors.  I could even remember the fragrances and the windy days and the colors.  I remembered what a relief it was to walk freely in autumn without insect repellent, and the colors.  I thought about autumn and how I was in the autumn of my life

“My Inner Child Resists this Fact of Life:

and how easy it had been to say good-bye to summer when it’s autumn.

“Legacy of a Tree”

I was also missing painting large, so I decided to paint this show large.  I discarded old, ugly looking canvases from stretchers and stretched soaking wet sheets of watercolor paper that had been cut off of large rolls.  I emptied the studio of furniture and laid the “canvases” out across the floor with narrow pathways between.

Some of the paintings were exhibited still on their stretchers.  Some, I sanded off the stretchers and framed.  Some never seemed to gel.  I tore those in small pieces and recycled them in a free-form piece called  “Letting Go/Relaxing Outward.”

The show, for me, was an experiment in presentation as it evolves from content.

I know very little about botany and was exhibiting in a location where most of the passers-by were botany experts but probably not as familiar with experimental art.  I was recreationally familiar with every section of the Arboretum and loved and valued it.  Often on walks, I would happen upon indications that an experiment was on-going.  I or my companions would murmer to each other so as not to interfere with the experiment, “Some experiment or other!”  This is the title of one of the pieces.  I imagined what the botany experts would say as they carefully made their way down the corridor of art that was my show.  I imagined that they would murmer to themselves a correct assessment of my show, “Some experiment or other!”

The earliest “Little People” paintings were born as tension relievers while I was working on “Camaraderie and Goodwill” – watercolor paintings of people in small town settings.  I had bits of watercolor paper lying around in the studio and practiced tiny full length gestural paintings of people who were also in their off-moments.  Visitors to the studio picked these up and expressed affinity.  I handed the little paintings to them as a parting gift.  At times, visitors would tell me what the person reminded them of.  The memories came out as their own stories.  I listened and took note and sensed that I had a civic gift to offer as an artist – the paintings would trigger story making.  So after the show was over, I left off the backgrounds and painted people in moments of their lives.

“Board Game”

It was interesting me to to make up my own stories about people I saw from time to time.  I kept pieces of paper in my pocketbook and jotted  drawings/stories down quickly.  The “Little People” paintings were painted one along with the other.  As one painting was drying I moved it to the side of my table and worked on another and then another.  In no time I had a “crowd” of people paintings in a box.

“Single Mother”

I framed them and found a venue. The balance of being part of the crowd and retaining boundaries and independence occupied my thoughts as I was putting the show together.  In my own mind, the frames provided that stability and balance.  Recently, the frames have come off and the balance is there anyway.  A pleasant surprise!!

For each “Little People” show the nature of the crowd changes relative to the paintings chosen to be included.  I haven’t had a “Little People” show as such recently, but I’m not done with this series.  I know that.

On respites from parenthood and homemaking, my husband watched over the kids.  I liked to get in the car and head out from our medium sized city into the very accessible countryside.  I put my finger on the map, found a small town and drove to it.  After a stroll down the main street, I stopped at the coffee shop.  I had a bite to eat, read a good book and in three hours was ready to return home.

There was conversation and comfort and considerations  that were offered to those who came for food and I came to respect the double duty that the owners and servers provided within their communities.   In 1985 I began carrying sketching supplies to these small towns in order to honor these people.  A suggestion from  Jim Hofstetter of the WI Historical Society redirected me on this.  He said in the places I had visited, maybe, it was a coffee shop.  But I should look for gas stations, bars, libraries, banks, etc, to pinpoint the establishment in each community and honor those places in addition.  For the next two years, I did that.

“Amazing Grace at Katy’s Cafe”

(With this series, I was playing “peek-a-boo” with collage elements.  If I’m not mistaken, the woman walking through the front door is collaged, but not the man’s newspaper.  The period I was traveling was one where farms were being foreclosed upon.  I saw many groups of farmers providing comfort to each other.  I fantasized that my own little people paintings would be hanging on the wall of the cafe also.  My understanding is that this cafe burned down a few years after this painting was finished.)

In each place, I quickly sketched the outlines of the coffee shop or street corner, and later, back at the studio inserted people from memory.  Of course, I changed details of physical appearance.  For instance, in one coffee shop, the weekly card game was going on.  This became “Ken’s Gramma’s Card Game.”  A little boy was wandering safely from table to table.  Ken’s Gramma didn’t have to worry he was okay; everyone knew everyone.  (The little boy’s name wasn’t Ken of course.)  He did wander over to look at my drawing.

“Ken’s Gramma’s Card Game”

I learned something during these two years.  What I initially saw as agape love being offered was more likely “belonging.”  That was comforting and helpful enough to the residents.  I came as an outsider, and  no one paid much attention to me.  That was a surprise. for me, who grew up in a large east coast city and who had fantasized about small town generosity and good will.  People were civil and all that, but no one ever offered me a cup of coffee that I didn’t pay for, inquired as to my own well being, or even showed any curiosity.  That was for those who belonged.  This was interesting to me, because it seemed to me no different from the large city of my childhood.

My idea was to take the show on the road to various small communities as well as here in Madison, WI.  In addition, the shows would be in non-traditional exhibition locations.  I did that also.

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