Monday, September 14, 2015


Fleur, 2015 , 5.5" x 4" x 4 " , carved wood and acrylic

What are you working on in your studio right now?
Right now I'm working on a 5ply board which I cut into a form; a form I’ve been varying throughout this series. It’s about 40”x40” by 1”, in this case. I’m using a jig saw and it’s cutting nicely, I can be pretty free form with the process now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the saw. I have two 1-inch foam pads clamped to my work table and the piece resting on top. This way, I’m not in danger of the blade going thru to the table and my arm motions can be fluid, much like drawing but with the saw.    

I'm finding some great antique textiles which I dye or paint or leave unaltered to adhere to the surface. Sometimes I do more cutting after they’re secured to fray up the edges. I’m also using more contemporary mass produced fabrics like vinyl and quilted materials and making some acrylic pours which are super clean and slick. These elements serve as a good contrast to the antique pieces.

I also have a 3-D piece in the works right now, born out of a textile print block from India.

Other objects I’ve used in this series are a bent wood frame from France, a wooden comb from Africa, china, a vintage wooden cigar making mold and a wooden washboard.

Flotation Device, 2015, 39 x 39 x 1", vintage and contemporary textiles, monotypes on mulberry paper and acrylic on shaped 5-ply
photo credit; Bryan Wing

Can you describe your working routine?
My personal studio is behind my two teaching studios so I can sometimes slip away in between classes but the bulk of my work gets done on days I regularly set aside each week and three one-week longer chunks of time I schedule in per year. I actually like working late or all night; no interruptions. I love processes so I usually have several  going on at the same time; I am making monotypes, sawing wood, dying fabric and paper, painting, collaging and making acrylic pours until I get the work to a point where it needs more focused concentration in order to bring it to fruition.

Especially at the start of a piece, I like holding different materials next to one another and allowing myself a “what if” moment, thinking about how this would bond with that and what it would then “say”. Sometimes things seem humorous or beautiful or ugly and then I go for it. If it feels right, I do it. I try to keep pushing through boundaries and to let my gut be my guide. 

Richtergraph, 2015 , 3 x 3 x 1.5 ", carved wood, textiles and acrylic

Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
I love my space! It’s 700 square feet and has plenty of light. I wish I had tall ceilings but I don’t. I do however have a lot of great surfaces. With all of the process I get involved in, the place is usually a wreck that takes hours to clean up after and I really do like my space organized. Working mixed media is definitely messy and for me takes some re-organizing every few days. I have a lot to keep up after, if the need to do scroll work or sand an edge or monotype with ink or use powdered pigments in a dye or cold wax an area of a piece; all of the materials I need, are here. I’m ready.


Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.   
I usually work in series so once I “finish” saying what I want to say in one series, I’ll get an urge to move on. This usually means bringing some elements from the prior series into prominence for next. Materials and processes tend to lead the way. I do however consider what the work seems to be saying. In this current body of work; New Artifacts the concept of layers of history and culture and adding my hand to that conversation is of concern; so that’s usually on my mind as I’m creating. I’m also considering their new identities, unrecognizable from their origin.  
I am mainly interested in staying engaged with the making. I love that the individual works have relationships with one another in spite of their differences.  
Since I am interested in layering a variety processes and materials, I usually start a piece or a few pieces at a time, maybe with a handful of monotypes, acrylic pours, textiles or perhaps a few wood pieces; objects I’ve cut up and begin looking at, laying them out, holding them near one another and finding what works, eliminating those that don’t relate, on and on. By this time, I’m starting to get ideas where these things can go and will start in earnest getting things attached. I’ll likely need to work back into the piece, perhaps making additional pours or searching out a specific paint I know will look great in that spot, maybe a very dead paint or a metallic. Sometimes, this is where discoveries are made; I recently found that if you add some marble powder to your acrylic paint you can get some wonderful gouache-like flatness. Eventually, I am tweaking and fine tuning to the point of completion.
textile wall sketch using antique, vintage and contemporary textiles; some of which are hand dyed and encaustic monotypes on dyed mulberry paper
photo credit: Bryan Wing
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
I’m interested in having the work be “less careful” in some areas and I’m ready to add some strong hard edged elements as well. I’m working through these challenges in bigger ways right now. It’s always the case; to see what can happen next and be open to that evolution…without fear. I’m usually wondering why I didn’t already do that and just want it to happen, quickly;  to see it realized.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
Yes, I trust my gut on these things. If I feel the need to try a new material or process, I do it, knowing it might take some time to get comfortable with whatever properties or limitations I’ll have to encounter. I’m willing to explore within what seems reasonable for the work.



Tumbler, 2015, 40"x40"x1", antique and contemporary textiles, pigment dyes, encaustic monotype on mulberry, acrylic and oil paint on shaped board



What does the future hold for this work?
Continuing with this series, I have an environment / installation I can see happening. I want to print with my print blocks on the walls perhaps and / or hang monotypes and textiles all over the walls and in some areas, the floor as well, and have more work on top of those pieces. I’ve already begun this in my studio but want to make the right space happen. Maybe someone reading this will offer the space…ha! I think it would be interesting to see the work in a very clean space in one install and another install in a space with age and history. Additionally, I am excited about some new 3-D objects I’ll be building with a material that is heated to form and holds its shape really well.  
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to do this interview. I love the concentration on process in your great questions; it really helped me to understand more about myself and my work having articulated some of these things. I have admired your work and the blog for quite a while and I’m really honored to be included.
Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper  2015 , 6" x 6" x 2",  carved wood, textiles and acrylic


Wednesday, June 10, 2015



Untitled, 2015,
spray paint, cut outs on sewn fabric, 31x25 inches
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I have some works going on, which are still in progress. Some are smaller pieces on paper/cardboard and some are medium size works on canvas. There is also some sewing   happening. Besides that I recently started experimenting with clay, paper mache and wood and have been making these small sculptures/objects -not sure where it’s going just yet.
Can you describe your working routine?
I always do something in the studio probably because it is in my living room. In the morning I like to go through things, look at works in progress, rearrange, clean up the mess I made the night before or just play around with materials. Then I usually do some prepping like canvas stretching or unstretching, cutting, sewing fabrics, etc. I also go for walks and take photos of things I find interesting - walls; pavement- I’m always interested in different marks, shapes I can find. Generally I try to work/do something every day but prefer to work early in the morning or later in the evening.
Studio wall
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
Until recently I had a shared studio at school and that made things easier in terms of working a bit larger and storing works. Currently my studio space is in my apartment in Chicago where I have a designated area in my living room. I don’t have a lot of wall space so I tend and prefer to work on the floor and use the wall space for evaluating works in progress. I think the size of my current working space definitely affects the work I’m making.

Studio wall
in process
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Painting doesn’t always happen right away and sometimes the beginning can be a bit awkward. When it does happen it is usually a reaction to a previous work(s), my surroundings/domestic space, or something I’ve seen, read or overheard. But there are still these phases I go through, the” nesting phase” where I do all these other things (organizing, cleaning etc.) and then the actual painting phase. Once I get into the physical act of painting I tend to work fast and usually on several pieces at once and then I step back. So its back and forth – preparing, working and looking /thinking. I’m interested in surface manipulation- the act of deconstruction and reconstruction. Things get layered, reworked, concealed and then revealed again. I like when things get a little out of balance. Accidents that happen along the way are also always interesting and allow for problem solving. I welcome challenges and difficulties the work presents- this feeling of excitement and being unsure all at once. There is really no planning involved in terms of how the piece is going to look like; I don’t like to think too much about the end result –I’m always interested to see where the work will take me (even when it becomes a total mess).
Untitled, 2015, acrylic, ink on sewn canvas and drop cloth, 27x21inches
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
There are some things for sure. Scale – especially now since the studio space it rather small. Other ones: when is the work consider finished, how not to overdo it, stay loose, keep it fresh, how not to react too fast, how to leave it alone and avoid being a control freak.
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
Yes! Process, experimentation and materials are important. I like to work with both traditional and non-traditional materials. Mostly I use acrylic paints, gouaches, inks, fabric dyes, enamels and spray paints. At the same time I’m always looking for new things to use– I’m into shopping at Home Depot stores- they are full of surprising materials! Lately, I have been playing with different fabrics- sewing them and painting on top. I’m also interested to see how some materials work or don’t work together. I don’t like to repeat the same moves all the time or feel too comfortable so this use of different materials and/or processes allows for the unexpected to happen and keeps things fresh and spontaneous.
Untitled (Toxic) ,
2015,acrylic, gesso, canvas bag, fabric over stretched canvas 29 x 12 inches
What does the future hold for this work?
Since I just graduated from SAIC I will be looking for a job while continuing to make art. I’m also looking for opportunities to show my work, residencies etc.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for inviting me to participate Valerie! It’s really fantastic to be able to read about other artists and learn from them.
Untitled (Memories from Ordinary Moments,)
enamel, acrylic, collage spray paint and found objects on sewn fabric, 29 x 30 inches

Monday, June 1, 2015


Jib Jab, 13" x 10", Acrylic and spray paint on cut canvas, 2015


What are you working on in your studio right now?

The studio has been treating me well lately. And by that I mean it is a time of tremendous creative output. My studio walls are inhabited by  a bunch of new works that are pushing my process. My newest paintings continue to explore the traditional tropes of abstract painting language while borrowing from pop cultures and personal memory.


Works in process

Can you describe your working routine?

I teach .... A lot. I work for four organizations across all boroughs of New York City and now Long Island. In any given week I can work with upwards of 150 students. So at times when I have a moment of rest the last thing I have the energy for is my artwork. However this Spring (my busiest time) every moment I can, I'm in my studio. But because I do teach often it is over breaks that I get a lot of studio work done. One staple that is consistent in my studio practice is drawing. Even when I have little time in the studio I draw out ideas for works. I carry small sketch books with me everywhere, so on the train or even for 15 minute break I can sketch. This practice helps keep me wedded to my studio. Also, when I do finally have time to really engage in the studio I go to my sketchbooks for inspiration/ideas. 



studio wall
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
Well in the last six months myself and two other artists (Joe Nanashe and Ronna Lebo) founded an arts space in Ridgewood, Queens. It is about a 3000 sq ft space that includes 11 private artist studios and a project / gallery space. We decided to call it Reservoir Art Space. It is three blocks from my home. So now, if I have an hour before I teach I can swing by and have my morning cup of coffee while looking at my work. There is no trip, just a short walk. Before I shared a space with my husband. Now I have a private space, this is the first time in almost 10 years that I have had a space all to my own. This I believe to be partially why I am  having a time of such creative output right now.

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

Drawing.  A lot of drawing. And like many artists I find writing opens me up to new ideas and ways of approaching a painting. Lately I've also been dying large vats of canvas. Then hanging/draping  the raw canvas all over the studio and  just meditating on the color. My studio practice is super slow and then punctuated with bursts of action.

I often have an idea for a painting, attempt to execute it and fail. It is most often out that failure where I feel as my best works take shape. Ha! birth from failure I never thought of it that way until now.


Meatball, 12" x 10" x 5", Acrylic and spray paint on cut canvas, 2015


What are you having the most trouble resolving?



Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I stick to acrylic paint, spray paint and wooden stretcher bars, but I push them to the extreme...I guess you can say I'm a bit of a punk purist.
Snaggletooth, 14" x 10", Acrylic and spray paint on cut canvas, 2015


What does the future hold for this work?
I have some group shows coming up in Queens and I'm super excited to be in a group show in the Lower East side in 2016. Of course I'm looking for opportunities for solo exhibits, so fingers crossed for 2016.
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you Valerie for creating this blog. I appreciate what you do.





Wednesday, April 8, 2015


alkyd, spray, oil stick, and stir stick on canvas, 12" x 16", 2015

What are you working on in your studio right now?

Right now as I type this, I have a hair dryer blowing hot air on a painting that's face-up on the floor.  I poured some alkyd house paint that skinned over quickly which makes it difficult for the wet paint underneath to dry, so I'm just trying to help that process along.  It also has some old T-shirts of mine attached to the surface which are embedded in the poured paint. I basically have 2 series of paintings going now: one group that maintains the integrity of the picture plane and is painted with paint rollers, spray paint, and oil stick, and another group of paintings that are painted similarly but also incorporate collage materials that come out of my day job: drop cloths, stir sticks, paint skeins, tapes, rags, roller sleeves, etc.
alkyd, spray, oil stick, canvas strips on canvas, 24" x 30", 2015

Can you describe your working routine?

I don't really have a routine.  I'm not a 9 to 5 painter, per se.  I work very hard on my day jobs (house/decorative/scenic painting) but I would never want being in my studio to feel like a job and I don't want my paintings to have a feeling of labor, even if they take a long time.  I know a lot of painters that work this way and they manage to churn out a lot of product and are successful with it.  That's not what I'm interested in.   What I am interested in is doing the very best, most challenging work I can do that is interesting to me, regardless of what the market may think.  This is what's always guided me.  This 'not caring' about what the market thinks may have hurt my career but it's definitely helped my painting and my own development. 

Sometimes the best thing you can do in your studio is just be with your work – it's not always important be doing something.  Just BE with it and let it speak to you.  But when I am working I think it's important to bring a quality of emotion to the work – I love that Matisse talks about going to ride a horse if you're not ready to be in the studio.  Get energized!  Generally I work fast and things happen quickly.  But there are also times when the path is not clear, so I slow down a bit with lots of time between moves.   So it varies.  Hence, no real routine.  



Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?

I'm very lucky to have a nice, big studio which I've had since 1985.  In addition to the sense of continuity the studio has provided, this is the studio where I learned how to make a big painting.  The large size also allows me to work on a bunch of things at once.  Also, I live and work in the same loft, so going to the studio is not an event or an action that requires a decision, as such.  I can wander in any time of the day or night with a cup of coffee or a beer in hand and just look.  The nice thing about living and working in the same space is it allows a more relaxed relationship with one's work - you can see things more unselfconsciously and hopefully, more clearly.  It's all about breaking down the illusions we all tell ourselves about our work.  I love my studio!



Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Basically, I'm always working out of personal need and want my work to reflect my life.  This has been true of my abstract work as well as the representational work.  Previously with the Painter Man series, I worked in a narrative way because I needed to tell a story.  Once I told that story, the need to make explicitly narrative work went away.  Gradually I returned full circle to my first love of abstract painting.  The newer work draws on my long histories with both abstraction and commercial painting.   A painting can begin anywhere and end anywhere.  For example, a painting could begin or end with the application of the round paint skein that forms in the can of the alkyd house paint that I use.  I can do a large painting in a day and I just recently finished one that took 2 years to complete, so it's always different and it's that lack of a system that fascinates me.  My process asks a lot – both of me and the viewer.    

What are you having the most trouble resolving?

In the past couple of years, I've done a number of paintings where I've intentionally wrinkled the canvas surface during the "stretching" process.  Figuring out how to negotiate these surfaces has been very tricky and it took me a long time to resolve these canvases.  But I did resolve them and that's very satisfying.  I love that kind of challenge and risk.  It's what I'm painting for.  It's the inquiry, the investigation that intrigues me.


For Pete's Sake (Gridiron),
 alkyd and spray on canvas, 66" x 80", 2014

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?

Yes AND yes, I don't see these as mutually exclusive.  I've always believed that we all need parameters, both so we know what we're doing but also so the viewer knows what variables are in play.  That said, rules are made to be broken and it's important to push ones boundaries all the time.  But if you are just doing anything at all, all the time, you'll surely end up with nothing.  That's not freedom.  When I reviewed Dona Nelson's show, I realized just how much rigor goes into the making of her work - she's not just having a good time making things up.  If you look closely at her work, you'll see slight changes from piece to piece, in other words, parameters!  But that's not what one thinks of when one thinks of her work.  Most of us think of that wonderful freedom she has.  Well, it's a hard-earned freedom accomplished within the parameters of her own personal working history. 
For me, in the 80's I activated the surface of my paintings by attaching small canvases to the surface of bigger paintings and also cut into the surface of the painting and attached canvases to the backside of the canvas creating a niche that accepts paint.  I also attached raw canvas, wood, paint tube tops, tin cans, styrofoam balls, etc.  I've posted some of these pieces on Facebook recently and it's been gratifying to hear people say that the work has a lot of currency now.  The surface attachments are never an end in themselves, but are just another element to consider in the making of a painting.   

 alkyd, spray, oil stick and pencil on canvas, 12" x 16", 2015

What does the future hold for this work?
I'm pretty excited about this new work and think I'll be mining this territory for a very long time.  That said, I can't predict the future of this work and that's what I find interesting.  Painting as adventure!
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes, I'd like to invite you, Valerie, to come to my studio.  My website hasn't been updated in a while and besides, I don't think the computer screen is a very good medium by which to view painting – so much is lost.  Thanks for the interview!  See ya soon!

alkyd and spray paint on canvas,  50" x 54", 2014