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Painting 4471 N Prospect

I walk a lot – for exercise and sanity – long walks through my neighborhood in the mornings before work. There are certain homes that tend to draw my attention over and over, for various reasons. There’s one I love, way up at the top of my walk at the northeast corner of Shorewood, Wisconsin – I’ve photographed this home over and over.

The house is so pretty – fresh white paint and dark trim – the graphic quality draws my eye. Add to that the fact that in the morning the sun blasts through the tree in front of the house to throw a cacophony of dappled light effects onto the house. The view is stunning, day after day, and I have often thought I’d like to try painting that scene. Over the last week I finally took on the task and above is the result.

The work is digital, I painted it using software on my tablet. I’ve moved to digital – originally for storage concerns. However, I’ve really grown to love working digitally, for many reasons. First of all, unlike traditional watercolor I can make endless changes and edits. Second of all, digital format offers a whole new realm of techniques to be learned and mastered – a whole new set of fun creative challenges (woot!). Also, I can take my tablet with me anywhere and as long as I have power to charge it, I can paint and paint and paint. And finally, there’s the original reason for choosing digital – storage. After 10 years of seriously pursuing a painting career, I have an attic full of canvases in various states of done-ness and twice as much as that in art supplies. It’s a problem. Digital fixes all of that.

Anyway – hoping to keep this going for years to come! 😀

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Progress on MKE Progess

I’ve been working on the MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College) commission project for the past few weeks. My concept is a multi-canvas installation, portraits of Milwaukeeans of note throughout history. I envision the installation looking as if these portraits were collected over time – each one framed differently from the next and grouped together in on a single wall.

The working title is “Portrait of Milwaukee Progress.” My plan is to create 11 separate portraits so I can embed the letters M K E P R O G R E S S one by one into the background of each portrait.

The biggest part of the project thus far has been the research – how to choose who to paint? I’d like to be inclusive of a variety of identities, but that can get tough when you’re digging through the internet looking for stories about folks that lived generations ago. Regardless, the group of eleven likely subjects is taking form, and I’ve started sketching.

Shown here is a preliminary sketch of Golda Meir – one of Milwaukee’s most consequential daughters, having served as the prime minister of Israel from 1969-1974.

Cook-Lady

Portraits make great gifts!

I love working on portraits. I especially love when someone commissions a portrait as a gift – holidays, anniversaries, weddings, even memorials of those who we’ve lost. I love working on portraits because of the love that flows from the giver, through me, to the person who ultimately receives the gift. I feel that love when I’m working on the project, and  I like to think that love shows in my work.

Just finishing up on two new projects – see below.

David&Meghan

Cook-Lady

The Lowes

In memoriam

A very good friend lost his father a few months ago, and he and his mom have been having a particularly tough time. He asked if I could create a portrait for his mother in memoriam of their beautiful marriage. Attached is the finished product – it was given to her for mother’s day this year.

RainyDay-Exsalonce

Two large-scale watercolors now part of the Tony Odisho collection

So, how cool is this? The fabulous Tony Odisho, owner of Exsalonce Salon and Spa in Chicago as well as Tony Odisho Extensions and Ostia Hair Products (who also happens to be my hairdresser!) called me a couple weeks ago for a favor. He asked if he could borrow a couple of paintings as staging for a one-day photo shoot at his newly redesigned and expanded salon. I brought him over a couple paintings that he thought would work well, and they did, and the photos turned out fantastic! Even better – he liked the paintings in the salon so much that he ended up buying them! Yay! Thank you Tony!

Above, Tony Odisho, owner of Exsalonce Salon and Spa, standing in front of “Rainy Day” in the salon.

Masa Irises at Exsaonce Salon and Spa

PR-outside

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!!

 

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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.

Tink

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.

Nana

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.

Thelma

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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Return customer

Brian Kozlowski hired me a few months ago do create a portrait of his partner’s parents as a surprise gift. He and his partner Jonathan Carbonell were so happy with the result that they came back and commissioned a second portrait, this time of Brian’s parents. I’m thrilled to present a photo they sent me of both portraits now hanging together in their house!

Looks great guys! This tableau looks fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

And here are close ups of the completed paintings:

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