Tuesday, November 8

Last chance to walk thought the Monkey Garden

The Monkeys will be leaving the gallery November 15th. This Saturday there will be a gallery benefit and closing reception at the Eric Schindler Gallery. If you haven't been to the show yet this would be a great time to visit. I am looking forward to a final viewing myself.
Once the work enters the gallery it is all grown up, on its own, I am just the parent clumsily visiting with clean laundry and completely embarrassing. I feel very proud of my monkeys. I will be at the closing reception on Saturday, but don't come to see me, come for the happiness the monkeys bring. I am just a proud mum, er, artist, beaming with delight at how great they turned out, in spite of me.

Check out the cool write up in Style Weekly by Julie Geen. She, Kirsten and I had a lovely talk and she captured it nicely.

Onward Monkeys!!!

Wednesday, October 5

16 days till Quiet Monkeys comes to RVA!

Hey Monkeys! I have been working very hard getting all the monkeys together for their big art show. The totem is done. I finished it on the 10th anniversary of 9.11. Those of you who have been long time followers of the blog know my story. Those of you who would like to read more about it, can, here.

The shells in the piece were all collected from a beach on the Golf coast of Florida during a family vacation. The snakes teeth are porcelain from a special tea cup I loved and broke. All the Monkeys are made from paper mache, (flour, salt, water and paper). Paperclay was used to get more refined shapes (a non toxic clay mostly made of vocalic ash). Homemade encaustic wax was used to cover the pieces, (Beeswax Damar crystals and Milk Paint). Every ingredient has some personal significance, and is non toxic.

Here is the show info:
Quiet Monkeys
Opening reception, October 21st
7 to 9
Eric Schindler Gallery RVA

Monkey friends if you would like a postcard and to get on my mailing list, send me your address.

I will post more photos leading up to the opening. But for now I have to get back to work, there is still plenty of Monkey business for me to do till then.

Onward Monkeys!

Monday, August 8

Big announcement Monkeys

My dear friend Cami sent me these images of the announcements for my MFA Theses exhibition at Ford Hall at Eastern Michigan University--way back in the day, 1992. It truly feels like 100 years ago.

In 92, I was a worker bee working on my art night and day. It made perfect sense to send out time cards as invitations. I was working 3 jobs, teaching a few classes as well as working on art in my studio.

My current work deals with relics and looking backward and forward yet always reaching upward. Here I am confronted with these time cards as relics. How ancient the use of White-out seems to us now, or hand typing on a real old fashioned typewriter every single invite. The ribbon that ties this in is Cami found these invites in the bottom of her memory box. While she herself was cleaning out her art studio gearing up to create work. True relics. True friends.

The reason I bring this up is there is a new date for the show I have been working towards these many months.

The show has a name: Quiet Monkeys
It will open on October 21st and close on November 15th.
At he Eric Schindler Gallery RVA
save those dates monkeys!


Thursday, June 9

Monkey Fruit Snake

Progress report: This one started way back in Oct. as you can see they were just tape monkeys back in the beginning. I added the stripes and filled them out at the end of last year. Then they sat in the studio where I played with them, studied them and mapped out a general plan of attack. This week I felt I had a handle on this encaustic waxing business enough to start back on the monkey wheel. I figure I put in about 60 hours waxing them so far. Hot work even in the AC, during a heat wave. I am not complaining. I am quite encouraged by the progress so far. They look more like Cheese Monkeys in photo (a really great book by Chip Kidd by the way) or cheese art. But look less like cheese in real life. When the wax is all smooth and a bit transparent the sculpture sings, that is what I am striving for. That is what keeps me hunched over a hot plate shaving wax with a razor.

Onward Monkeys!

Wednesday, May 25

what's up Wednesday

We do these things because they are hard! For the last week and a half I have been smoothing the wax on the Monkey Ball. In my head I kept hearing a mash up of JFK saying, "We do these things because they are hard" and Tina Turners intro to Proud Mary, "We never do things nice and easy we do things ruff". It is hard to explain how I find myself immersed in these long slow processes, they don't seem to be my nature. But I guess it is my nature. I never do things the easy way, always the long slow hard way.

The weekend before last Mr. Eleven and I met our dear friend Jeff in DC to see the Gauguin show. It was a great treat and I got to see Gauguin's sculptures. In my mind his sculptures were brightly colored but in reality the colors were all the same value and really could have been one color. In some they were. This is important. As a painter doing sculptor you think like a painter. But as a sculptor there are different concerns. I finally got it! Once back home I knew I needed to scrap all the colored wax off the Monkey ball and unify the forms. Make him whole and rediscover the subtlety in the sculpture.

This is the hard part. Taking the wax off is easy, just heat it up and the wax peels off. But adding it is hard. Hard and slow. Adding wax requires using a brush dipped in hot wax, covering the surface one stroke at a time. Using a knife blade heated on a hot plate, the wax is melted and smoothed one tiny section at a time. Breaking down the planes from blob to smooth Day after day, heat smooth and repeat.

The Reaching Up Monkey, (Celebrating Monkey) has a ways to go too. I have been taking him in the yard to sand, adding more clay and repeating this process over an over. Again who would make a life sized sculptuer out of paper and volcanic ash?...This girl! I love what I am doing I crave it. But I find myself asking, How did I get here, a lot.

Only the Monkeys know, Onward Monkeys!

Wednesday, May 11

studio helpers at rest....

The dogs enjoying our new wall color and notice no more holes in the wall!

mmmmm good salad!

Ms.Bella sunning after a good meal.

...thought I would provide a better view of this: Monkey cutting the head off the snake.

Onward Monkeys!

what's up Wednesday

The ReachingUp Monkey, (or Celebrating Monkey) has been painted twice since I last posted. I am adding the color as I do the last refinements making the color part of the process not a separate thing. I am still not sure what color he will end up.

The new one, Twin Towers Totem is coming along. I have been holding off using the cardboard tubes for a large scale bust. But A few weeks back I started working it into a totem and as world events took off the art followed. Unconsciously that is. I finally recognized what I was doing and named the work accordingly. The little monkey on the top is cutting off the head of the snake.

I have so much to do! I better get back to work!

Onward Monkeys!

Wednesday, April 27

One less hole in Bella

Frankenstein is letting me know it is time to cut the lawn!

The big news is the final hole has closed on Bella's side. She is officially healed, healthy and ready for action.

The Murps waiting for me to come back in the yard.

It seemed like forever going through Bella's cancer, surgery and long recovery, but she is all healed! She hasn't quite been with us a year yet, but has earned her place in the family and in our hearts. Long live Miss Belly Bella and her trusty companion Sir Frankenstein!

Onward Monkey faced dogs..and other monkeys!

what's up Wednesday

I am in the studio working on the reaching up monkey and his pals.

The roofers came by yesterday and put on the new roof. Check out our new hammock, yay!

If you look closely you can see where I have outlined the new bigger front flower garden.

Irises in full bloom!

Progress is slow but, ever moving forward. I know in photos it doesn't look like much, but each new layer of paper and flour bring more life and character to the reaching up monkey.

onward monkeys!

Thursday, April 14


My 6 year old friend came by to give me a gift she made for me. It was a Valentines gift that got delivered just when I needed it most. She is awesome!

I wasted no time getting back to work in the studio. It took me one full day to give the Reaching up Monkey a layer of paper mache. He is coming along.

My first Monkey using shells from Sanibel Island Beach, is the guy up front with shell eyes, shell ears and shell penis. I worked on every monkey on my work table!

This is how it looked when I reopened the studio. I cleaned off the table, scarped all the clay and wax off and got to work!

Here are all the shells I brought home with me. It is funny how different they feel off the beach and in the studio.

We faced cancer, the recovery from the cancer operation. A limb impaled our home. Took a trip out of town and now I am back! It feels so good to be working again. The best was walking in the studio and being greeted by the Reaching Up Monkey, we did a high 5-double hands and I got down to work!

Onward Monkeys!!

Again with the falling limbs

Our home was impaled by a limb from our big oak

somehow it missed the painting, my head, the lamp and just poked though the wall

It snapped off this large Maple in our yard

When we returned from Florida another limb had cracked off, this time hitting nothing but grass

How cute is Mr.Eleven!

There was a huge limb waiting for us when we returned from our trip to Florida. Another huge limb cracked off the old Maple. Miraculously, it hit nothing. We conceder ourselves very lucky. But we wasted no time calling our favorite tree guys. The expert said, Maples rot from the inside and it is almost impossible to tell from the outside. They will be here in a week or so to give the beautiful old tree a major trim. Until then I am keeping my eye on it when the wind blows.

We are working things out with the contractors and insurance company over the damage from the first limb incident. We just picked a new roof color! A new bedroom color is next. Never a dull moment!

Onward Monkeys!

Belly, Frankentiny, and Trubee!

The hardest part about going away was leaving Frankenstein, Bella and Truman. We found the best pet sitter in David. He stayed with them, washed out Bella's incision and gave Truman a shower each day. It was great coming home and seeing the dogs sit next to him and show me they were happy with my choice. Truman went a wondering the day before we came home. We got a call from David saying he couldn't find her. I knew just where she would be and found her within moments of arriving home. Everyone is safe and sound. Bella seems to be healing. We will know more after a trip to the Vet later today.

I really struggled with this decision, but the print to help pay off her vet bills will have to be put off for a while. First of all she is still not 100% and the vet visits have not stopped (cha-ching). The more selfish reason is once again art related. I am working towards a show in Oct. (Oct. 14th to be exact) a date that gets closer each day. I have a habit of throwing myself off track with side projects, before dead lines. I identified this as just one of those projects. I can't afford to give up anymore time. My Monkeys need every moment I can find.

There will be prints and I will do them when I can give my full attention to them. Believe me the need will still be there. Most importantly I am looking forward to having a place to land once this Monkey show is up in the Gallery.

Onward Monkeys!

Beach Monkeys and other birds

My happy feet in the sands of Sanibel Island.

Some shells I collected. Each was chosen with a monkey in mind.

Along the shore

I met some Pelicans

Mr.Elevin's family catching some sun.

The big family weekend came and went. It was a celebration of birthdays. Mr. Eleven, his mom and sister all had milestone birthdays, 40, 50 and 75. We rented 2 cabins on the beach, brought a beach tent and everyone came equipped with plenty of reading material. I was on a mission. Monkey business!

When you are dreaming, there is a moment when you can stay in the dream or wake up. If you wake you know you can't go back to where you were, but sometimes you trick yourself into thinking you can control it and go right back. It is never the same. Leaving my work is like that. What kind of a shitty girlfriend (wife) would I be if I didn't go to my guys 40th birthday. Or missed his mothers 75th or sisters 50th birthdays? I know it was a huge sacrifice to spend 5 days in Florida. 5 days on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. But I bit the bullet and did it.

Oh poor me it was horrible--just kidding, it was amazing! First of all I really enjoyed my relatives. But on a more selfish note, it was like leaving my dream only to find, I landed in a better one. Maybe the one I needed just then. I have been using shells in my work for about a year now. Sanibel Island the beach we stayed on is all shells. Big and small all shapes colors and textures of shell. Or as I saw them Monkey ears and eyes and penis' all over the place as far as I could see as far as I could walk!

I walked and walked and hunted for the perfect Monkey parts. I knew I could only take a small amount home. It was my job editing my haul down and finding shells I knew I would use. I felt like I was keeping on track, with my work, even though I was on vacation.

On one of my walks, 3 water birds (they looked like loons, but I have no idea what they were) swam in the water next to me as I walked along the shore. Not the Pelicans in the photo above those guys were awesome but they didn't walk with me. The beach was very secluded, I barely saw any people, just lots of shells, sea, sand, sky and these birds. As I walked along the Golf beach I thought about that bird I was just referencing here on the blog, the one covered in oil, in this same body of water a little over a year ago. The one that inspired me to start on this Monkey quest. It was one of those moments that when you try to express it to your dearest friends, you can see their eyes rolling. In your heart you know it had profound meaning. Like that dream you just woke up from the importance is just a feeling and the parts you can relate seem silly and disjointed. I can say I had a moment and I can still feel it. I am pretty sure the tears in my eyes right now, are not from the pollen outside but from a memory deep inside.

I am back in the studio with my shells and ready to get to work,
onward Monkeys!

Wednesday, March 23

Bella update

I am in bed with Bella today, again. It seems the only way to keep her immobile is to be immobile myself. Since my last post she has been back to the vet twice. Because of the placement of her stitches she reopens the wound each time she moves. Air and some infection puffed her up getting under her skin, literally, (you can see some of that in the photo above). Touching her, she felt like a squishy water ballon. When she moved it farted and made crunchy sounds.

The good news is I have been flushing the "opening" with Betidine, along with the antibiotics, the wound is showing signs of healing. I think we may still need to get a few staples put in to close up the last bit. But it is looking a lot better! On the bad side, the vet bills are growing and I haven't been able to get in the studio in days.

Frankenstein has been a sweet supportive brother, Bella is looking bright and not leaking--yay! I am in bed reading, frustrated but happy that things are looking up.

These are the days that the value of baby steps is clear, each breath is towards healing,
onward monkey