Have you ever been afraid to be seen crying? And even though you have so much sadness, you can't seem to let the tears fall? I tried to capture those feelings in this drawing. I've been there before....too many times....more times than I wish to recall. What about you?
Some people believe in ghosts and some do not, but I think we can all agree that sometimes we are haunted by unsolved dilemmas and frightening thoughts. That's what I tried to capture in this "Haunted Hat" drawing.
Now, would you really want a haunted hat? What would you do with it?
Conjoined twins and girls with top hats are reoccurring characters in my art. They represent the girls who see with their hearts instead of their eyes. They represent the best of friends because this is what I've always longed for. If I drew it, maybe it will happen some day.
Yes, I've been selling my strange artwork! I'm so amazed! I don't know......I just am always tickled when someone likes my art enough to buy it. I don't know if I'll ever get used it it. It's one thing to say you like it and to come to see my art shows or events, but it's a whole different level of admiration when you actually commit to buying it. Below are artworks that have found new, happy homes because they SOLD, SOLD, SOLD! Thank you so much! It means so much to me!
Everything is up in the air, but I have confirmation that I'll be having my first solo art show at ZB Gallery in 2018! What an amazing way to start the new year! I just had to share this news with you because it's the best news! I should know more about when and what and whatever in a few days. I'll keep you posted. I'm jumping up and down with excitement. I can't wait to make some beautiful, strange art and new paintings for this show.
Lately, I've been having a hard time with myself. Have you ever had a period of time where you just couldn't figure out how to feel better; you lost your reason for being; you felt dead inside? Well, that's what's been happening to me. I did some rash things to try to get out of my funk and find my mojo again like deleting some of my social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram. Here were 3 reasons I decided to go black and withdraw into my own space:
1.) PEOPLE NOT USING FACEBOOK ARE LESS DEPRESSED:
Yeah, you've heard this before, right? It's because you don't compare your life with the happy looking lives of those filtered/edited images that people share on social media. You stop feeling inadequate compared to everyone else. In fact, you just forget about everyone else and start taking care of yourself. That is what I've been trying to do. And guess what? After the third day of going without any social media, I felt a lightness that I hadn't felt in a long time.
2.) I NEEDED TO WITHDRAW:
Yeah, I was feeling terrible. I would come home from work and just lie on the floor and cry. I'd gaze up at the ceiling and let my tears soak into my carpet. It doesn't get much more depressing than that, unless we're talking about actual suicidal plans. But sometimes, withdrawing and letting go of everything can give you space and time to fall apart and then put yourself back together again. I was hoping for that. I just wanted to be with myself in my disquieting solitude, without any social media. I wanted to figure things out and feel my way through this terrible heaviness.
3.) I DIDN'T THINK ANYONE WOULD NOTICE:
Honestly, I figured the world would go on without me. I often felt ignored on social media and didn't figure anyone would even know I'd withdrawn and deleted my accounts. Maybe, most people haven't noticed. Maybe, my words here won't ever be read. But a few days ago, I got a message from a friend who was trying to find my Instagram account. She thought she forgot my IG handle and somehow got disconnected from me. I told her that she couldn't find me because I wasn't there anymore. Yeah, my friend noticed and that's all that really mattered.
Like I wrote above, I'm starting to feel better. I'm still on twitter, if you really want to follow what's happening with me. And I'm still writing this blog for all it's worth.
I enjoyed painting the cover for the December 2017 issue of Metaphorosis Magazine, a sci-fi/fantasy fiction magazine, so I hoped to work on another cover. I didn't know I'd get the opportunity again so quickly, like the following month's issue, January 2018. I'd like to think they loved how well the last cover turned out and that's why they came knocking on my door again. It makes it sound more flattering that way.
But the truth is that the other cover artist that they had set up for January had to bow out so they asked me to fill in. I stepped up to the plate, ready to swing my bat again and win another one for the team.........wait a minute.........I'm an artist.......what's with the sports analogies?......errrr.......I mean I sat down to my art desk and took out my sketchbook and paints, ready to paint my heart out again.
The story I was to illustrate for the cover was a cramped, tense, psychological, sci-fi story called, "Jewel/Gem Offer". It's about an estranged mother who travels across the universe to bring her grown daughter a plant-weapon. I wanted to instill all those disturbing feelings in the story into my painting, so it needed to feel unsettling and claustrophobic.
As usual, I worried and fretted as I painted, hoping it was good and that my editor would approve it. Was I getting the characters right? Did my illustration reflect the story's intent? Would it create curiosity and excitement for the January issue?
When I turned in the final painting to my editor, he said he liked it, but it needed more of a color range for the background. He wasn't too fond of the orange. I went back to the original thumbnail sketch that I submitted to him. It did have more color; reds, oranges and yellows.
Once I added them, he approved it and we were good to go. Above, you can see how it looks with the magazine title and text. Which cover did you like better? I asked a couple friend if they liked the orange one or the colorful one better? They couldn't agree. Personally, I liked it simpler and just orange, but that's just me.
You know what? I don't know if Sasquatch is a magical creature. What do you think? I don't know if he exists. I don't know what he's looking for or if he has already found it. What I know is that he is a part of the Pacific Wonderland, the place I call my home which is why I chose to paint him for ZB Gallery's "This Pacific Wonderland" art show.
In some way, I had already gotten in touch with the spirit of the Sasquatch when I was creating drawings for the Secret Society of Magical Creatures. I drew an Omni (your guide on your magical quest in the Secret Society of Magical Creatures) as a big hairy creature who was going on an adventure with a little bunny girl.
When ZB Gallery invited me to be in their art show, I came back to that Omni drawing and decided to make it into a Sasquatch. Of course, I still wanted him to be with a bunny girl and to still be going on an adventure.
I imagined the two of them having a serious conversation before they decided to proceed up the hill into the darkness towards Pittock Mansion. Bunny girl would tug on Sasquatch's hand and say, "Hey". And Sasquatch would look down at her and say, "What?" And they would hash it out and puzzle it over and figure out if it was a good idea to go up there or not.
What do you think they are saying to each other? Whatever it is, they seem like they are going to be good friends and look out for each other. They know it's a scary, cold world out there and it's better to travel through it with good friends.
During November 2017, I got into a group art show about "Self-Care & De-stigmatizing Depression" (at Ford Gallery). I had to write a statement about my experience with depression and how my art has helped me take care of myself during it. My child-like/fairytale-like art is always telling the stories that guide me out of the hell of giving up, dying and self-loathing----or in other words----the hell of depression.
Below is my artist statement for the show. You can view all my paintings closer-up in in detail at this link to my online gallery.
I'm surprised how many great opportunities keep finding me from doing all those sidewalk chalk drawings. Most recently, a gallery (ZB Gallery in Sherwood, OR) saw my chalk drawings on Instagram and wanted my art in their gallery. That is always flattering to hear that your art is wanted. They invited me to their "Pacific Wonderland" group art show, asking me to create work that showed what I loved about the Pacific Northwest. I thought about it. Well, it's the spooky stories about serial killers and sasquatches, bunny girls that you meet at cafes, mysterious landscapes and old creepy buildings, like Pittock Mansion.
What would I get if I put all those things together in one image? What would happen if a sasquatch and a bunny girl hooked up? Where would it be? What would they do? In my world, this would be quite an innocent hooking up. I thought they'd go on an adventure together under the cloak of night and guided by starlight.
As you can see, I managed to get those 2 characters together in my painting. I think they are going to have a lot of fun wherever they go. The gallery was delighted to receive it and added it to their promos for the show. I was thrilled to get such great exposure of my painting.
I made the journey out to Sherwood (30 minutes south of downtown Portland) for the opening night and met the gallery owners. They were so kind and appreciative of my art. I really was touched by their interest in what I'm creating. They even asked if they might convince me to do a solo show with them in the future. I would definitely think about it. If you're interested in purchasing my little "Pacific Wonderland" painting, please contact the gallery. Below is my statement and bio for the show.