Now showing at Pizza Rustica, Chicago

Big announcement! My first 1-woman show has now officially begun. Juliana Montebello-Roman and Chef Stefano Roman invited me to show my work at their beautiful and delicious Italian restaurant – Pizza Rustica. The restaurant is located at 3908 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60613 (just 3 blocks north of Wrigley Field, one block south of the Irving Park “L”).

The show will run for a couple months – no end date set yet. But if you are interested in viewing please stop by for something to eat and to have a browse. The food is truly amazing – rustic northern Italian cuisine including amazing pizza, fresh pasta and to-die-for sandwiches – Stefano is truly an artist.

We are having an open reception on Sunday, January 20 from 1-3pm which will include a craft beer tasting hosted by one of their vendors. I hope you will stop by, either for the reception or some other time during the run of the show!

Juliana met me yesterday morning and was a fabulous partner – couldn’t have done it without her! – in helping me get the show hung. Below are photos of the finished product.

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Added 1/12/12 – Read the interview with Juliana Montebello-Roman in the Examiner – great write up!!



Just won an IWS Award of Excellence for my painting, “And then I lost it”

Big news – last night I was honored by winning an “Award of Excellence” at the Illinois Watercolor Society’s Annual Member Show for my painting “And then I lost it” (shown below)! I am over the moon thrilled about this. My first award since taking up painting again 2 years ago.

I walked into the exhibition last night with my best friend Robin, took a look around and thought to myself – oh man, I don’t have a chance. There were so many truly amazing paintings on display last night, by some incredibly talented artists. This show is really something to see – and I figured no way was I going to win anything…. but then I did!

The judge was Marilynn Derwenskus, NWS, IWS – I was told that my painting was chosen for the story it told, for the risks I took in the composition and for the “glow” I was able to achieve in the execution. Super thrilling for me to get such high praise from a nationally respected artist and judge.

The painting, “And then I lost it” is one of a series I’ve been developing from discarded vintage photos found in junk shops and antique stores, which I’m calling the Discarded Series. The resource photo I used for this painting was of a little girl, circa 1930s, standing on a hillside with a white dress blowing in the wind. I added the cliff in front of her and the kite, to tell a story of innocence lost.

If you are interested in seeing a truly wonderful show, it runs through December 5 at The Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 West 31st Street, Oak Brook, IL.


Felines & Canines – a very worthy cause

Last year I met some wonderful people. An amazing group of people who dedicate their lives to taking care of cats and dogs who have found themselves without homes. And they were right around the corner from where I’ve been living for the last 6 years.


Felines & Canines is a no kill dog and cat shelter headed by Abby Smith and Kelly Thompson, located on Chicago’s far north side. Their current temporary location is at 1962 W Peterson Ave. Chicago – but only until their year-long renovation of their real home is complete. At that time they will move back to their place at 6379 N. Paulina St.

As a donation I just completed a series of portraits of their residents – some with heart warming stories. There is Tink – short for Tinkles – who is the sweetheart of the people who work there and pretty much everyone who walks in. He came to them at 6 months old having been hit by a car, leaving the back half of his body paralyzed. He has found a warm and nurturing home with F&C – he runs and plays and is cherished as one of the family.


Then there is Nana – their first canine rescue. Felines Inc had been their name since the 70s but with the renovation they have expanded their space and therefore are now a cat AND dog shelter. Nana came to them off the street and everyone fell in love with her instantly, and she found her forever home within days of being taken in by F&C.

Then meet Thelma – a long term resident of F&C. She is not friendly with humans – one of the many feral residents at the shelter. She skulks around the place with her funny little face – taunting those such as me who want to scoop her up and give her a cuddle. Don’t let her fool you, she’s not having it. Because of this, she is unlikely ever to leave the shelter, but that is ok. F&C is a no kill shelter so Thelma will have a home with them as long as she wants it.


Anyway – I can’t say more about this place and these wonderful people. Following are the finished paintings. In time for the grand opening I will be getting these framed and they will decorate one of the walls of the newly renovated home.

I can’t wait.

Click the thumbnails to see any of the photos up close.

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“Discarded Memories” – opening reception May 19

(Pictured above, “The Spinster Sisters Do Mexico”, 40″ x 40″, acrylic)

I’m thrilled to be able to invite you to the unveiling of my newest series of paintings, entitled “Discarded Memories” at the Phantom Gallery on May 19.

I’ve always been drawn to vintage photography, often standing for ages in antique stores sifting through boxes of discarded family memories now for sale for 10 cents apiece. I have been collecting some of these photos, which have inspired this series of narrative works. Every picture tells me a story, and I try to bring it to life on canvas to pay respect to the person whose memories have been tossed aside.

Also on display will be works from artists representing the International Artist’s Group – Lewis Rice, Piotr Wolodkowicz, Alan Emerson Hicks, Jolanta Nawrocka, Ruyell Ho and Mark Matejko. It’s going to be a fantastic show!

Opening Reception

When: Saturday, May 19 2012, 7pm – 10pm
Where: Phantom Gallery at 4161 North Damen, Chicago

This group show runs May 19 – June 10.

Gallery hours are as follows:
Monday through Friday, 6pm – 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 1pm – 5pm
Also available by appointment


A new direction

Painting from life

I am thrilled to report a new direction in my art. Back in art school I used to really look forward to my painting from life classes. I love the immediacy of standing there and painting what you see and feel from another human being, right on the spot. It’s amazing to me that there would be a class full of students, all painting the same model, same pose, each ending up with a totally different interpretation. Everyone’s painting was different, because everyone’s experience is unique and individual – even when the stimuli are as controlled as a single person sitting in a single pose for 3 hours time.

No opportunities

I’ve not had an opportunity to paint from life like this since I was in school – nude models aren’t exactly knocking on my door (that’s probably a good thing…) But I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that if I’d ever find this opportunity again, I’d jump on it. Well, the opportunity presented itself through a brilliant artist I met recently, Piotr Antonow. He and I are currently in a gallery show together in Chicago and he does these remarkable, large scale, colorful, energetic, abstracted nudes. Stunning work, I am blown away by his talent. On meeting him and discussing his work he has now invited me in on the live model sessions he attends 1-2x a week.

What joy!

Finally the opportunity has presented itself, and I am having a ball. A third artist is also working with us – Marina Nemtseva – and between the three of us we present three totally different points of view of the same model, same pose. This is just like I remember from art school. Cool!

I thought I’d show an example of this. Below is an example of two paintings I did during last week’s 3 hour session, and also an image of Piotr’s painting done of the same model at the same time. Alas I do not have an image of Marina’s painting because I didn’t have the idea to write this blog until a few days after she – shockingly – destroyed her painting! What?! Bummer! it was really cool! I guess she must not have liked it! (I’ll have to be faster next time.)

Susan at the Window - original acrylic painting by Rochelle Weiner

Susan at the Window – original acrylic painting by Rochelle Weiner

Susan in Glowing Light - original acrylic painting by Rochelle Weiner

Susan in Glowing Light – original acrylic painting by Rochelle Weiner

Nude in Natural and Artificial Light by Piotr Antonow


Opening night at the Phantom Gallery

Wow – that was fun! Last night was my first official art gallery opening night – at the Phantom Gallery currently located at 4161 North Damen in Chicago. That in itself made it a very special night for me.

Great turn out – the gallery was packed with friends of the artists and well-wishers. I got a chance to talk to some very interesting artists and patrons and got lots of compliments on my work (yay!). There were also three performance artists who provided entertainment plus a fabulous guitar player who provided beautiful music throughout the night. A man named Chris did a barefoot interpretive dance to go with his fiddle playing and Alan Hicks created temporal sculptural art on the fly with much fanfare using only an old video tape. Very cool! However the highlight of the night for me was Louise Cloutier of Voiceborne who improvised songs to a number of pieces in the show. I was able to get video of her singing to my painting, “Unfold”. What a treat!

Thank you so much to those of you who made it to the show last night – I really appreciate you making an effort to come out on such short notice! You helped to make my night extra special!

To those who couldn’t come, the show runs through April 10. Let me know if you’d like to go and we can set up a time to meet! 🙂


Accepted into IWS national exhibition!

I’m over the moon! I was just informed that my painting, “Jealousy in Red Gloves” (see below) has been accepted into the Illinois Watercolor Society’s national exhibition! I’ve been told that nationally rated artists submit paintings to be in this show every year, so to be one of 60 selected for competition is a major honor in itself! Woohoo!

This painting is one of a series I’m developing where I use discarded antique photos to inspire a painting. I will be showing rest of the series in May in Chicago, but “Envy in Red Gloves” will be displayed that month at the IWS show.  Tentative name of this series is “Discarded”.

Information regarding the show coming up in May:

IWS 28th National Exhibition

May 4 – June 1, 2012
Reception: Saturday, May 5

Judge of Awards: Donna Jill Witty, AWS, NWS, TWSA-MS
Demo by Donna Jill Witty at 1 PM

The Next Picture Show
113 W. First St., Dixon, Illinois 61021, 815 285 4924



Now showing in Lincoln Park

On Thursday I installed my paintings at the new art gallery opening soon in Lincoln Park. It’s called “Fortunate Discoveries”, it’s located at 1022 W Armitage, and is a similar business model to the Andersonville Galleria. I’ve signed a lease and I get a wall all to myself.

Fortunate Discoveries’ focus is original artwork of all types. I am one of a few 2D artists showing there, and there are jewelers, photographers, sculptors, potters and more. It’s a pretty fab place!

All the artists are installing their work this week. I decided to focus on my florals, still lifes and cheery landscapes seeing that spring has made an early appearance here in Chicago. If all goes well Fortunate Discoveries opens doors within a week. Soft opening meet and greet with the neighbors is April 1 and grand opening is Friday night, May 4 from 6-9pm. Hope to see you all there!


Show at the Phantom Gallery – St Paddy’s Day

The AQUA Series

Opening night

Saturday March 17, 7pm
The Phantom Gallery
4161 North Damen

Show runs through mid April and the gallery is open daily 6-8pm and all afternoon Saturdays and Sundays. Appointments off hours are also available.

The Phantom Gallery is transient and at this time it’s located in Ravenswood. I’ll be showing with the International Artist Group and I have a wall 15 feet wide all to myself. It’s my first art show at a real gallery space. Ok, it’s a popup gallery but that counts… right?

All are invited – bring friends!

If on Saturday you’re drunk and wearing green, you’re still welcome, as long as you keep the green beer away from the paintings.



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