Matting and framing – the business of art

As far as I’m concerned it’s never too early to prepare for an art show. Even though it’s still just May, and I have a full month to get ready for my show at the end of June, I hate panicking prior to an exhibit doing last minute preparation. Along with this show, I am also planning on relocating to Hawaii later this summer. Simply put, I am in the midst of a big project that includes packing, storing, and choosing which possessions to keep, ship, sell, or let go of. Getting ready to move 6000 miles away is quite a process!

Matting and framing art
I narrowed down which paintings that I want to show, choosing to exhibit my watercolor landscapes for my painting group’s show Nature Calls in New Haven. Of course watercolors need mats and frames.  I hadn’t cut mats in a while, but I warmed up after cutting several mats using my trusty Logan mat cutter. The first few attempts were rejects but I got the hang of it after awhile. A jaunt to Ikea was in order to pick out some more of the neutral silver frames I like. Now I’m feeling more or less ready to show in June, and am delighted to see how my watercolors look matted and framed. They were gems already, but behind glass and framed, they look stunning. Hope some of you get to see the show opening June 26th in the New Haven Public Library, Ives Gallery.

Preparing mats and frames for the New Haven Public Library Ives Gallery show Nature Calls, opening June 26th with my painting group The Calm.

Instagram: My new hangout!

Ok, ok already! I have finally taken the plunge and decided to embrace social media beyond just Facebook. Even though I’m a 10 year fb veteran, I am now sharing my art regularly and connecting with other creatives primarily on Instagram, and secondly on Twitter. It’s been a toss up as to which platform to embrace. I mean after all, who has that much time to delve into the cyber world for hours each day? Wouldn’t you rather be painting or pursuing your bliss in the real world? Although I do admit to being somewhat passionate about connecting online and social media has proven a superb way to stay connected with dear friends. “Likes” are fun to get and new followers do give a slight adrenaline rush. 

I did a bit of research and found from other artists that Instagram wins hands down as the best platform to go with. And it really does make sense. Instagram is after all a visual platform and it’s where art fans and artists like to hang out. It’s also not limited to the 140 character post, so I can describe my art in more detail if I want, or comment on someone else’s art. 

I intend to share my process more and record the steps I take making my art. Today, for example, I spent hours just framing watercolors for an art show coming up in June. Watercolors take on a new meaning altogether when they are matted, framed, and set behind glass. They become more of the gems that they already are! 

For front row seats check me out:
Instagram: @abboriginal69
Twitter: @Abbie_artistInstagram screengrab


Abstract Paintings: Gems from the Past

Digging through my past art work this week, I uncovered some hidden gems. I found a group of small abstract paintings that I painted while traveling in Europe after art school. I have been revisiting abstraction in my art lately and it is a timely thing to rediscover the direction I had been going with my abstract painting. I have gained some new ideas, insights land inspiration from observing my own artwork. What a blessing! I am so thankful to my younger self.

My art is my journal.

sketchbooks imageThis past month has been a trip down memory lane. My parents were both artists and big believers in never throwing anything out, at least as far as artwork goes. As a result I have held onto plenty of paintings, drawings, and sketchbooks. Some date back to highschool or earlier. Needless to say, I have stacks of paintings, drawings and mountains of sketchbooks.

However, my parents’ house where I have stored my art, has been sold. I need to either take my artwork with me, place it in storage, sell it or throw it away. Thus, I have taken on the task of taking inventory of all my art. I have photographed nearly three hundred of my paintings and drawings, as well as titled them, noted the medium and recorded their sizes.

This has been an amazing process. It has helped me organize my art and eliminate artwork that no longer needs to be saved. It stimulated me to convert my website to a marketing site, so now I am able to sell my artwork to friends and fans who have always wanted to own my art. I dropped my prices and I have been selling more of my art. It’s rewarding to know they are going to people who have followed my career as an artist for a long time. My aspiration has always been to inspire others through art. It’s wonderful to know they are going to homes where they will be much appreciated.

I have also had the pleasure of tracing my path and observing my growth and stylistic changes. My artwork is a record of my life starting in high school, spanning through art school, my years living in San Francisco, my job as a waitress, views from cafes in the Mission district, hikes in Marin, Oakland hills, travels down the Pacific coast, as well as my journeys to Brazil, Europe, Asia, my master’s thesis, and my recent trip to India. Indeed, these sketches and paintings are the journal of my life.

What a gift that I can gaze back on this visual record of an amazing, adventure filled life. Not all moments were happy. My paintings also reflect lonely times and emotional struggles. It’s just that it’s all there to view. This has been an opportunity to gaze back on the past with an eye on the future, and note that my art always mirrors the present.


‘Unmarried Women’ a portrait series

I’ve been sorting through older artwork that has been stored at my parents’ house for years. Here are four drawings from a series of oversize portraits from 25 years ago or so. I called this series Unmarried Women. The sizes are 4’x3′.

Writing, Stories about my Art

Empty Easel, gouache on board, 7.5x4

Empty Easel, gouache on board, 7.5″x4″

I am going through a major overhaul of my website. While placing my artwork for sale on my site, I am also taking the time to write a brief story and memory connected to my paintings. In doing so, I realize how my artwork is indeed a visual journal of my life.

I can recall a specific time, my thoughts and process, where I was and who I was speaking to at the time I produced a particular work of art. I am thrilled to put these memories into writing so that I can share the words and stories that accompany these visual records of my life. 

You can read these stories if you click on the images of paintings and drawings in my new online store.

Watercolor Collage Workshop – Fall 2016

Watercolor & Collage Workshop
November 2016
After a demonstration showing some basic watercolor techniques, my students experimented with watercolor by painting from observation or by simply playing with the medium to see what it could do. The second half of the workshop they then recycled their artwork by creating collages with the paintings. This became a process in balancing control with releasing control, allowing for an entirely unpredictable outcome. As usual, I learned from my students as they revealed their unique creative skills and vision that they offered to the class.

Thanks Marie for showing how blowing through a drinking straw spreads color in fun linear patterns. I was the last to learn a simple trick that most kids learn in school.

Abstract Painting Workshop – student work

My student Kieran had a natural ability to express himself boldly in his first abstract painting workshop. Here he is working on an exercise in repetitive shapes. It will be interesting to see how he develops his own marks and vocabulary, and how it will inform his representational artwork. Click to see other art workshops and student work from past workshops.

kieran-2 kieran-abstract

I love caricatures

I love caricatures

One of my favorite art forms are caricatures. I love to do them and I happen to be very skilled drawing and painting them. It’s fun to decide what the most dominant aspect of a person’s face is and how to exaggerate that to make it look even more like them, and also how to capture their personality with a few lines and brush marks. This past month I was given a wonderful project to complete — 48 caricatures of employees at a company in Hamden, CT. I finished them in less than 4 weeks, in time for the opening of their new facility. They were displayed at the entrance corridor. Here are a few of the paintings alongside the people who they caricature. The paintings are all 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas, done from photos I took or were given to me. I was pleased to hear that everyone enjoyed viewing caricatures of of caricature paintings

donna caricature

caricature of woman

matthew caricature

Abstract painting – Allowing the painting to lead

Abstract Painting Workshop

Fresh back from an exciting painting workshop in Maine where I spent 5 days immersed in abstract painting within a structured artist residency that combined yoga with expressive painting. I embraced the basic concepts of composition while the movement of my body, the paint and the brushes became my guide. These paintings and drawings were done on paper and canvas using acrylic paint, and a variety of mark makers. I look forward to seeing where an emphasis on automatic painting will lead me. Flowers are appearing and I hope my art continues to blossom!