Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Old Man and the Sea

by Ernest Hemingway.

I'm old enough to say, I'm surprised I haven't read this book yet.
I happened upon several books while working on my cross stitch (thank you Audio Books!) and one of them was the Nick Adams Stories, a collection of short stories by Hemingway.  The prose is so calculated and clear and the story is fortifying yet unsensational.  I have only the phrase: "I love this."

So, I'm looking up all the Hemingway there is, and I'm starting to work through it.  Beginning with the Old Man and the Sea.  It's a short read and I'm half way through and I don't want to not read it.  It's the same clarity and precision and the same wholesome humility.  The Old Man is the sort where you feel compassion aching in your chest, but you're not sure you'd be willing to be there with him. 

His knowing of his craft and of the sea are so hermetic and also familial, he seems the fanatic, though he's the most grounded.  He knows that about himself. 

Hemingway has the coveted self-knowledge and entails a freeness of living that I have wanted myself.  Selfishly, I'm getting back to this book now...

There are several classical illustrations by C F Tunnicliffe and Raymond Sheppard.
So nice to look at.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

October and November

I got busy.
busier than normal and then I had to decompress after all the business.

Most of October I did one of 3 things: Worked at Pablo's coffee where I always work on the weekends, worked weekdays at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver where I do install on contract a few times a year, and worked on a large cross-stitch.  I also spent a few days with my amazing, artful friends, Nina and Craig who visited from Wisconsin and I also did the work of GroundSwell Gallery because we had another opening (as we do every month).  Here are a few notable pictures from that time:
MCA's Postcript show up through Feb. 3, I helped hang the many grid layouts

Lindsay St. Antoine opened at GroundSwell Gallery Nov. 10,  I bought this painting.
field trip to Clyfford Still Museum with Christian, Nina and Craig.
Pablo's Coffee...  mmm, latte.  I can sling a lot of lattes in 5 - 7 hours
This is the project that it's been all about for the last 8 months.  Showing one more week at Redline Gallery for the Art by Craft exhibit. (click image to see full size)

The month of October was especially important for completing this cross stitch project.  Spending Time, a double portrait of my husband and myself created from a photograph that I took and then pixilated.  Each stitch recreates the image pixel by pixel.  Formally, this work nods to early American needlework and the tedious work of commemorating family through stitches.  Conceptually, the sustained work of cross stitching over 8 months, spending time with the image of us together, builds to a meditative practice.  I felt the work became compulsive as the deadline for the Art by Craft exhibition neared, though I doubt it would have been so, had there not been a deadline.  This piece is immediately very personal to me.  Maybe that's obvious, but unlike other artwork that I have made, I feel more protective and private about this.  I want it to be as simple as it is and as monumental as it is without elaboration.

Also installed at this exhibition, the Tinnient Campana installation (previously installed at Forest Room 5 in September). 
Tinnient Campana also on view at Redine through Nov. 29 (click image for full size)
This artwork refers to the proliferation of ring tones without bells in modern culture.  The bell itself (like latin and other obsolete forms of communication have done) is gradually becoming a lesser known object or tool for communication.  Lovely in tactile forms and unique resonances, I wanted to make the bells for this installation out of adoration for the antiquated object and recognition for its outmoded-ness highlighted by our dear cell phones.  Tinnient Campana literally means, ring the bell, and our unknowing of that meaning may leave us hesitantly reaching for the bell as though to ring it, unsure of our intuition.

This installation is difficult to photograph because it is about 25 ft. long in total.  Eventually, my website will be updated to include best images.

Last note:  Because I needed to get back to it, a thank you to Mark Bystrom for noting that my blog has been ignored since early September.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Left: T shirt I bought in San Fransisco at a thrift store when I was 17 - quickly became my favorite T and remains on top today.

Right: T shirt I bought last Friday at Civilized Living (Fancy Tiger) made by Denver's Adam Sikorski (a mono print).  May be my next favorite. 

Can't help pointing out that this is clear evidence that I've become somewhat of a minimalist (probably thanks to my minimalist architect husband). Thanks Adam, Thanks Fancy Tiger, Thanks Daytona....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ceramics for the summer

This Summer, I decided to take on a new installation project after an April conversation with Jordan from Denver's Forest Room 5 (Restaurant, Bar, Lounge, Night Club, and more recently - Gallery).  The offer was simple, they have a newer large room (I call it the tree-house) where DJ's play out to crowds and the walls are dedicated to monthly art exhibits.  I decided to do an installation that I felt could interact with this thematically rich space.  Henceforth, a plan to create as many bells out of porcelain as I could and figure out a way to install them along a long wall in the space. I wanted to continue work that addresses a concept I've been addressing in my work lately - cryptic or obsolete language, while also creating a piece that interacts with the "trees" at Forest Room. 

I talked about cryptic language in an earlier post about a drawing I made for the Exquisite Corpse project at my gallery, GroundSwell.  The idea of creating works that have a message though the message is not entirely obvious or understandable to most, makes sense to me as a way of avoiding a didactic or even trite nature.  I have a subtle irritation with artwork that poorly uses statements or words (so obvious, too moralistic, awkwardly immature, etc.), so I try not to use words in my work.  ...lately, I can't help myself as I realize I can make the message or the words only known to me and maybe a few focused, intent, or just in-the-know individuals.  This work is about the obsolescence of bells and their "language" of timbre and pitch, timing and number, but it is also about the constant language of "ring tone" in the contemporary bell or chime known as a cell phone.  It's a note that says, "oh yeah, remember these?" to my peers and also says to the chicos, "Hey kids, this is what a ring tone used to come from!"  I know bells aren't extinct, but...  you know, I just love bells and I think it's interesting that I love something that is now becoming a sentiment or nostalgic item of antiquity.   This artwork is titled, Tinnient Campana. 
So this summer, I worked on Tinnient Campana for daaaaays at the Art Students League of Denver (which is awesome) with Barry Rose (who really knows his stuff when it comes to ceramics) to make by hand as many porcelain bells and clappers (the piece that strikes the bell from the inside) as I could.  There are 108 of them.  I'm exhibiting 99 in groups of 3.  The purpose of installing a large number is to identify the proliferation of "ring tones" in our lives and the relationship to the origin of the ring tone. All 33 sets of 3 go on exhibit this coming Saturday at Forest Room 5 (2532 15th Street Denver, Co 80211).  I hope you'll take the time to drop by and see this new work before the end of the show on October 2. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

coming in for a landing!

My dear yoga teacher Alex will be having her first baby this October!  This bird is for her little.  It feels good to just make something for someone. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nina Bednarski, Craig Grabhorn, Mark Bystrom

Wood Thrush - Nina Bednarski
I recently visited Wisconsin to see a group of friends whom I admire and love from afar, though we used to be neighbors in Madison.  It occurred to me, having caught up with everyone about their doings, that I'd not talked about these friends on my blog.  Without further adieu - my friends making art and food and other beautiful things in and around Madison, Wisconsin:  Nina Bednarski, Craig Grabhorn, and Mark Bystrom.  There are more beautiful friends doing beautiful things of course, but I'm spotlighting these 3 today!

Pop Forest - Nina Bednarski
Nina and Craig are a talented artist couple designing and making awesome stuff for art, home, employment, etc.  Their home in Lake Mills, WI is virtually an Artists' Resort...  and I often wish to be there in their garden of fertile creativity or swimming in the lake nearby.  Nina now works on a contract basis so that she can focus on the work from her personal studio, so her primary output are her paintings on canvas and glass.  She's been working with bright, colorful enamel on glass for most of her art making years, creating beautiful scapes of natural botanicals and wildlife using a graphic style.  Her website is lovely and soon you can see her work at Madison's Obrich Gardens - a huge solo show for Nina running September 30 - Jan. 6.  I'm fortunate enough to have one of her Bird Heroes pieces gracing my own home.  Craig is also an artista mucho talentoso!
Mustache - Craig Grabhorn
Working by day as a designer in Trek Bicycle's apparel department, Craig creates incredible designs for businesses, bands, events, weddings, etc. with his cute but smart style.  He and Nina are starting up their own housewares design co. to be based out their own (named) Chalet and partnering with other craftspeople (ie: ceramicists, seamstresses, etc.) and I'm looking forward to the smart goods they've been talking about.  Craig's artwork emphasizes his personal themes and interests while expounding on his graphic style - you can really see the relationship between his art and design in looking at his poster designs. Craig has a nice blog where he talks about travels, gardening, the Chalet, and even politics (these guys are activists after all) - see Living Texture.
Poster - C. Grabhorn

 Craig and Nina have befriended my other good friend Mark Bystrom and the designer love spreads as they have worked to create a lovely look for some of Just Coffee Cooperative's awesome coffee!  Mark Bystrom, a dear friend and talented purveyor of fine food, fine liqueurs, infusions, and preserved fruits often gifts his family, friends, and the world with his constant creative output!
label design by Craig for Just Coffee
His work with Just Coffee often leads to good coffee, good design, and good partnerships resulting in products like Just Coffee's Early Bird Blend (for which I got to do the label design - see the old post about it).  Mark often sends gifts in the mail with examples of his genius like Raspberry liqueur, Peach Bitters, and a few pounds of amazing coffee.  Mark also works as a chef for the Farm to Table dining club at LightYears (West of Madison near Spring Green, Wisconsin).  It is a very very very good idea to make a reservation at LightYears for a dinner infused with French wisdom from co-founder Serafina Kent Bathrick.  Brilliantly prepared summer meals are served on a terrace overlooking a vista of rolling hills and neighboring farms. A good review of LightYears by Laura Murphys (see #11 on the list). Call 608 929–7829 for info, reservations and directions.  Seriously.

my liqueur collection from Mark
It's not enough - everything I've said here, but I've taken the time to write it because these people are doing genuinely good, skillful and honest work in the name of art and joy.  I love them and look forward to seeing them each year on our annual July trip to Wisconsin.  I wish them each the most and best happy returns for all they do.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

About You

About You, Rebecca Peebles, 22" x 30," graphite, pen & colored pencil on paper
For the June show at GroundSwell Gallery (where I curate with Danette Montoya), we hosted a group show under the concept of Exquisite Corpse drawing.  Most versions of Exquisite Corpse drawing projects incorporate the rule that each artist participating has no idea what the other artist(s) are doing. The rules for our version also included that each artist creates a drawing using the same media and must utilize pre-drawn "starter marks" that connect each drawing to a left and a right drawing (see images).  I decided to participate with the project because I wanted to get in on that "surprise" feeling of putting all the finished work together to see what it all looks like, and of course I like to draw.

 The task of drawing "whatever I want" seemed simple at first.  Then the anticipation for the unknown drawings on left and right...  I had to put aside my tendency to plan and just let loose with the drawing. The only control I seemed to have (or thought I had) was effectively using those "starter marks" drawn from my margins across to anothers' margins.  I tried to think of them as bridges to another drawing.  Anyway, the drawing was satisfying work.  I felt explorative with the media that I wouldn't usually combine in one work.  I enjoyed placing my mind upon the irrationality of Surrealism and Dada (the art movements which originated Exquisite Corpse drawing) and letting go.  My drawing, titled, About You started with drawing my hands (seemed like a good place to start) and ended with a sensual and dynamic drawing.  I couldn't help but to footnote (in sign language) the main line from the Divynals 1990 hit song, I Touch Myself: "When I think about you, I touch myself." 

Putting all 16 artists' drawings together was, as expected, a delightful surprise.  Each juxtaposition of drawing to drawing was uniquely interesting and unexpected.  To see images of the works (each including some of the left and right "neighbors"), please visit GroundSwell Gallery's website.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


An Interactive Art Installation in conjunction with the Taos Contemporary Exhibitions at the Center for Visual Art
(965 Santa Fe Drive Denver, CO)

Friday, June 15

6- 8pm (maybe earlier...).

The Commons - that resource which is commonly owned and used.  This art work represents the source from which we draw and to which we add as an arts community. This art work happens by the power of your addition. 
One night only!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

the Art speaks for itself

New York Times covered this controversial art work by Brett Murray of South Africa which was defaced by members of the African National Congress (A.N.C. - South Africa's governing political party).
See the Article here - it's worth a quick read
On the side of art, it's interesting to think of the defacing of artwork as the "finishing" work, and I wonder if Mr. Murray feels similarly as his preference is to let the art speak for itself.  I think the Goodman Gallery is awesomely bold as it states: “In this space, the A.N.C.’s right to condemn the work is acknowledged as much as the artist’s right to display it. This, the gallery believes, is democracy at work."  You can see the original painting and the whole satirical exhibit, Hail to the Theif II on Goodman Gallery's website.  It's enlightening.  Go see it.


Happy Birthday to my husband, Christian Butler who inspires and motivates my art work, shares his creative work with me, and promises a future of creating and building a beautiful life together.

He's my hero.
and I love him.

 (ok, so I'm 2 days late on the blog, but I still wanted to post this here for obvious reasons.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ryoji ikeda for honda - data.anatomy [civic]

ryoji ikeda for honda - data.anatomy [civic]
A beautiful minimal art work based on the digital data for building a Honda Civic.  Artist: Ryoji Ikeda.

Check out the motion graphics version and/or look at the whole story on the website (click this post's title to link).

Thanks to my friend Nick Mancusi for turning me on to this very cool art work.  You know me. :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hot Box

These Designers/Artists/Enthusiasts need your money to unite the streets of America with Art.  Check out Hot Box's website and their kickstarter campaign!

click on the image to see it larger and see their route through major cities of the US (starting with Chicago).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

 "Disappearing, and other long term goals." 
Jeffrey King introduced this concept to us at GroundSwell Gallery as the central point from which his body of work would operate.  The work pictured above, titled as the show, is Jeffrey's quietly bold visual comment regarding our temporary status in our shoes, on this ground, standing, here...  With most of the works for Jeffrey's current exhibition (up through April 10), we are directed by elaborate "pointer sticks" to associate images with colors and shapes.  Maybe the colors and shapes indicate the arbitrary nature of things to which we attach ourselves.  The stylistically ephemeral drawings depict a place, a thing, a "Memento" of our existence, our memory - that to which we may attach meaning to ourselves.  King's choice of objects with which we self identify (speaking of our collective humanity from the artist's perspective) run the gamut, ranging from a "Have a nice day" smiley plastic bag to the icon of American architecture, Falling Water a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Working together, the framed drawings, pointer sticks and colored shapes create a sort of mind map that sets us off balance until the humor sets in.

We at GroundSwell Gallery would like to thank Jeffrey King for his outstanding work and work ethic. 

GroundSwell gallery is located at 3121 E. Colfax Ave.  We invite the public to visit the gallery Monday through Saturday 11a - 7pm and Sunday 12 - 6pm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

glad for our city

Published: March 1, 2012
Adam Lerner, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, likes to mix things up, which has led to more donations, increased membership and sold-out programs.

Congratulations Adam Lerner and Sara Kate Baie, and congratulations to the whole amazing crew over at MCA.  After volunteering for almost 2 years, I still love it! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

drawing dance - Tony Orrico

Tony Orrico tells about his work throughout this video by Becky Reamer, so I won't go into the details.  I will say, if I were a dancer...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Everything We Love // Hari Panicker & Deepti Nair presented by GroundSwell Gallery

Tonight, GroundSwell Gallery opens Everything We Love, a show of graphic prints, paper cut shadow boxes, and paintings created by the husband and wife art duo, Harikrishnan Panicker and Deepti Nair

Opening 7 - 10pm Feb. 11
(House DJ, House cookies, House coffee - no fakes!)
Show runs through March 6, 2012.  

at GroundSwell Gallery 3121 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80206

Hari and Deepti's work is hugely influenced by the life experience and folklore they grew up with (both from India) and the whimsical ideas that breed within them. They have been collaborating on various artwork and events from being the branding artists for Bordo Bello 2011, creating poster art for Artcrank Denver, and being a regular at the Denver Chalk Art festival and Heart Art Denver.  They did their first collaborative art show in October 2011, titled Cuts and Drips at the Super Ordinary Gallery in Denver, CO.   Everything we Love is a series of painting, prints and mixed media pieces depicting the elements that keep them going and inspire them to create art and be together.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

new concepts, learning at Matter, & my art collection

Most recently my artwork focuses on  2 concepts.  Initially, a concept of color theory regarding the juxtaposition of colors and their co-effectual relationships related to the teachings of Josef Albers.  Secondly, a concept described by Sri Sathya Sai Baba and variously found in other religious, spiritual, and social teachings.  I find that the words can seem dogmatic and I resist the urge to share, overtly, what the concept or dogma actually is.  On the other hand, what may be a life-time task, I do wish to take on the concept as a filter for my spoken words and also my own thoughts and I do feel compelled to make art about it.  Here's how I understand it:  Upon speaking, one may consider first passing the words through 4 doorways.  Each is a question of the thought, and if each thought can respond affirmatively, then perhaps one's speech better serves self and others.  It goes like this:  
Is it True?
Is it Kind?
Is it Necessary?
Does it improve upon Silence?

Looks like rainbows, the drawings are a practice of both concepts - color relationships and social clarity. 
click on the image to see it larger.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to do another piece referencing the latter.  I participated in Rick Griffith's printing workshop at Matter Studio, wherein we learned how to use printing presses and typeset and were challenged to create a design for print.  I did a print about the 4 doorways and also a print quoting Haruki Murakami from his book, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. "All you had to do was sit still for ten minutes, and you could see this amazing variety of grays." the 4 doorways shape and the "cloud" shape I designed to be made into printing blocks set alongside type.  One of my workshop-mates, Michelle, had a set of modular type that she intuited I might like to use, how very thoughtful and true, so the 4 doorways print uses those (outside of the modular purpose - re-imagining the modular elements as letters themselves).  The Murakami print uses lead-type 42pt Helvetica. 

I loved working with Rick at Matter and using his presses this weekend.  I love the work that I did.  

Last comment:  Below, a drawing/paper-cutting by Brittany Gould (Denver artist) that I recently collected entitled, Over Charleston
it's worth it to click on this image and look at it larger.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

James Llorca Garcia Marquez

A good Denver artist, James Llorca Garcia Marquez is leaving.  I'm staying, but I don't blame him, and I sympathize with his statements made in this Westword article about his departure to NYC.  I have 2 small pieces of his, tiny books, that I found while working at Hooked on Colfax, and I often feel grateful about the inherent generosity of having them.    I looked forward to seeing where this artist would begin to show in Denver and how he might grow.    Anyway, I'll miss this guy.
Composite, Physiognomic

I  too want Denver to start paying attention to Denver's artists and quit remarking on "how expensive" art is.   At least give these artists the honor of never knowing that you think the work is "expensive" - it is a matter of opinion after all - because art, when it is really art, is too important a thing to make such tactless remarks about dollars.
To James,
I hope you keep working.  Good luck and Farewell.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Takeo Hiromitsu

Matrimonial Kosmonauts mixed media on panel 17x43"
GORG mixed media on panel 14x14"

Prints and paintings by Takeo Hiromitsu are now showing at GroundSwell Gallery.  It's been a roller coaster of learning "how to do this gallery thing" with Danette, but I at least realize where the upsides are really up.  Month after month, we have these talented, serious, hard working artists bringing good art to our new(ish, 8 months!) space on East Colfax Ave, Denver, and the coming scheduled months bring more of them.  Denver's artists aren't dreamers.  They're doers.  The art is here and we're not the only space to show for it.  We hope you'll visit GroundSwell and see Takeo's work in our bright little gallery.  Take time to look at the details, see the narrative of this "self exist(ing) to connect with the cosmic creative energy that has churned time."  Mr. Hiromitsu's paintings and prints reconnect us with the chaos and fury of living that ultimately settles us out as we find our flow.
bigheadsmallcrown Lithograph print 25x20"

Takeo Hiromitsu
paintings and prints
on view at GroundSwell Gallery
Through February 7, 2012

3121 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206

GroundSwell is open
Monday - Sat. 11a - 7p and
Sundays 12 - 6pm

for more information or a scheduled viewing, please email: 

Pablo's Coffee

pen tablet
lyle lovett

...T shirt.