Sunday, April 23, 2017

Reading about ageing and art

When I wrote the last blog post, my arthritis was acting up fiercely!  probably due to the wild weather swings we were experiencing here in Minnesota as spring was trying to wrest itself out of the grip of winter!  It is always a fierce struggle here followed by a nature's ecstasy of reproduction:  Spring!  Forsythia are nearly done, magnolias are blooming and carpets of green are everywhere.  Birds are frantically dancing mating dances, building nests or brooding clutches of eggs.  I got buzzed by my first spring bee today!

I am reading about ageing as an artist.  Thinking about what that means.  Currently I am reading a book: Strategies for Older Serious Artists by Eric Rudd.  I have read his work before and found it usefully mind stretching.  He has a very definite point of view, a speedy style of writing, and thinks outside the usual boxes found in art-business manuals.

Also of note is  They have a database developed specifically for artists and a plethora of free articles. Their article on aging leans toward fighting ageism and organizing for public visibility and support.

The Creating a Living Legacy program of the Joan Mitchell Foundation is worth reading.  I refer to their free manual as I catalog my artwork and archive.

I haven't read this one yet : An Artists Guide to Estate Planning.  It's free.

These articles, and others, deal with the specific needs of artists as they age...from very different points of view.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Are You An Ageing, Driven, Ambitious Artist?


I have been thinking a lot about age lately.  I keep making art...lots of it.  I keep reaching for grants, exhibitions and collections.  Lots of them.  I have a success rate...which includes some "yes" responses and a lot of "no" responses: the usual.

And my body, in my later sixties, seems to be edging toward various, normal fragilities: painfully creaky joints, a certain tippiness, and, of course, certain memory issues.  Nothing unusual nor even alarming there either.

But, I wonder...what will the next few years bring?


Looking ahead, I am realizing I will need more help in the studio.  Not yet...I get by with the help I have from Danielle and Dale, more or less one day a week.  They help with administrative, brainstorming and larger builds and shipments.  But it is time to think ahead.

I wonder if there are ways that older, driven, ambitious artists can organize to assist and support one another? Could we share studio assistants? Could we share skill sets?

What do you think?  Are you a driven, ambitious artist wondering about how you will handle ageing in the studio?  If so... let's begin talking.  Surely there are a lot of us around this town.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Oh Judy, Judy, Judy!!!!

This piece, Judy Chicago, will be shown, with work of other Textile Center artists, at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport in a new display case on concourse E8.  

This is a digital machine embroidery piece that began as a color study.  I wanted to see what effect changing the color base had on the look of the embroidery.  Each element has exactly the same design with the same thread colors.  The subtle rainbow effect is from the different quilting calico colors.  I played with the elements, lining them up, placing them on a grid and finally in a circle.  As soon as I tried the circle, I knew it was a portrait of the artist Judy Chicago whose first memoir is titled Through the Flower. Follow the link and it will become clear to you;-)

The exhibit will hang March 20 and remain through the end of July.  So, if you fly out of concourse E, watch for the fiber artists of Minnesota.

Many thanks to Kraig Thayer Rasmussen of the Textile Center for thinking of me.  Follow the link to see his paintings.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


I am pleased to show you photographs of my solo show in the Wiseman at Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, Oregon.  I sent them 10 boxes!  I am so pleased with their installation of two solid years of work.

Monday, November 14, 2016

IN THE WINDOWS: Patricia Bronstein and Susan Huhn-Bowles

Patricia Bronstein, November 2016
Though a coincidence, these collages are being shown at a time where I hope they will give some joy and humor, and provide some relief to those (including me) who need it.
This country has suffered a devastating setback.  What do we tell ourselves about our country?  Many are struggling about what to tell our children? 
I’ve always liked collage because it allows you to say anything by juxtaposing images.  Look closely at these works.  I think they are sweet and funny.  I hope these make you happier because as Bette Davis in All About Eve, “fasten your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy ride.”  She really says “fasten your seatbelts, we’re in for a bumpy night.” This is a film from1950.  Either quote, the only car model that had seatbelts at that time was a Nash.  Congress did not mandate them until 1959. 

Learn more about Patricia Bronstein

The Spirit House, Altar and Tree of Faith
Susan Huhn-Bowles

The Spirit House, Altar and Tree of Faith is the representation of my hope for unity and peace.

As humans we are all physical and spiritual beings.  Our religions and beliefs guide and sustain us.  However, they can also divide us and distort our social behavior. We can be born into specific belief systems based on our parent's beliefs and cultures.  We also have the right and obligation to ourselves to search our hearts, listen to our soul's voice and find what the most sustaining beliefs for ourselves.

This also means not being judgmental, demeaning or hateful to those of differing faith.

This is my prayer.

Learn more about Susan Huhn-Bowles 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Such a long time

It has been such a long time since my last blog post!  Hints of activity have been blasted out on Facebook:  so easy, so fast!

Tonight, I will slow down for an admittedly drowsy bit of time and try to catch up on the events and activities in the studio.

A magnificent deal came my way on a new embroidery machine.  In fits and starts, including a trip to the shop, I have begun using it. There is a learning curve, but it is not too steep.  It works like any other embroidery machine...except you have to set up the thread-to-needle assignments. It is a bit fussy.
It allows me to sew up to 10 threads with no spool changes. What a wonder! Mostly I have been doing color studies: stitching identical designs with identical thread choices on different color fabrics to see what happens.

I rearranged the studio to make room for the new machine.  In anticipation of the need for more wall space to work large, I finished drywalling the garage.  I have one really long wall out there...over 14 uninterrupted feet.  Now to get it heated...or designate it the spring-fall studio extension.

I applied for the Guggenheim fellowship earlier this fall.  It is unlike any other application.  You practically write a memoir : about 8 pages of narrative about your career and 3 pages about your proposed project and beyond.  No resume.  No artist statement. And you have to provide 3 references. BUT no pictures...until asked.  I was asked!  So I have been combing through jpgs, trying to find the right sequence, the right story.  It is a big-deal-lot-of-work!  I cannot tell you how many hours this has all taken...and it is not done yet.  You can see my progress on picture selection etc. at

The body of work I did with my son, I DWELL IN IMPOSSIBILITY, will be exhibited at the Phipps Art Gallery in Hudson, WI as a solo show, in  October/ November 2019.

The EROS DRAWINGS are on exhibit in Wyoming, Minnesota for this month.

And the Art of Giving Project continues.  More artists books have gone to collections:  Pratt Institute of Art in NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art; and now Long Island University, NY.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stitched: Themes and Variations

Stitching on Rives BFK.  Digitized in 6D Embroidery software. STabilized with medium weight cutaway stabilizer.  Threads are rayon, polyester or cotton.  There is a thin layer of batting between the stabilizer and the paper.  Hand coloring with watercolor: bold pours; brush swooshes and staining from the back of the stitching with the rayon thread.  The rayon wicked the watercolor to the front, containing it to the stitched area.

This one is my favorite.  Stitched inoff white rayon, stained from the back with watercolor.