Thursday, March 9, 2017



When confronted with the choice of a favorite food (or ingredient) we all had to think about the limitations of presenting it in the studio environment. 
Fortunately for me, my favorite food is a discreet package of all the flavors and ingredients that I love the most. Butter, eggs, sugar, flour, and chocolate are the stuff of life. 
The smell of a Tollhouse cookie baking, is a source of comfort and joy.

As the first link in a Consenses chain, I recommend just choosing one image to start your work.

Good luck class, and have fun!

Friday, December 9, 2016


I often feel like the most inconsistent person I know. I blame my undiagnosed ADD.
ADD is and can be an asset when you want to be inspired or creative since it allows your brain to bypass normal routes of travel and skip between two unlike ideas or associations. However, when it comes to consistent behavior "the struggle is real".
Currently my lack of consistency is preventing me from making time to work on any art. Such are the prioritizing dilemmas of the teaching artist. I think it is time to enforce some discipline on my daily or weekly routine and commit 1 block or one day a week to creative endeavors. Clearly I know how to enforce discipline, it's just so easy to give myself a valid excuse...we shall see how it goes.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I am fundamentally a lazy person by nature. I like to sleep late when I can. I enjoy long meals with lots of conversation and lots of different courses. I like user friendly computers and computer systems, that don't need direct management. I am a procrastinator. My natural state is one of repose.

Conversely, I dislike having my time wasted. I expect and appreciate efficiency, and endeavor to make myself more efficient. It isn't that I want a shortcut for everything, but anything that has a shortcut is often preferred to things without one. Timesavers are generally my friend.

Both parts work to form a whole and I end up living my life with in a fine set of contradictions.

I like to dye raw fiber, spin yarn from it, and then make a garment or piece of textile art using the fiber I have spun. The only slower, less efficient, more time consuming way to do this process would be to raise the fiber beasts and shear the fiber and process it myself. Surprise! This is actually a process I can imagine myself doing.

I like printmaking. Printmaking requires a fairly circuitous process that starts with a graphic image of some description. Be it a drawing, photograph, collage, or text one must then translate the tones and shapes. The image is inverted onto a secondary surface and redrawn, stenciled or carved with a reductive process that generally takes ages to finish. The finished surface is then not the finished object, but the means by which the terminal images are created. The final product is then an image, not unlike the impetus for the whole process that was just undertaken, only it can now be replicated many times over.

Just outlining these two modes of artistic process I am left with the feeling that I may be a bit mentally unstable. Crazy even. So this leaves me with the question, what is your nature? What modes of expression or activity do you engage in that contradict your nature?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How Social is "Social Media"

As a member of the beginning of "Generation X" or as my friend Tom once wrote "The Voyeur Generation" I feel I am at the very beginning of the culture that watched others act out their lives. This was new and strange. It had been that entertainment was proscribed, meaning that it fell into certain categories that were clear and sensical. At the start of the 90's we had reality TV, email and the start of the mobile device industry. By the time I got my first email account we were giving birth to digital natives, children who would never know a life without nearly instant connectivity to the far side of the globe. Now as I teach the second wave of digital citizens, and post Y2K babies, I am alternately fascinated and horrified by technological advances in digital communication and the social consequences and opportunities these products provide. I think social media is one of the MOST interesting pieces of technology to emerge at the beginning of the 21st century and I am fascinated to see what you "Centurions" and future generations will do with it. Creating art in the post digital age as an analog girl is always an adventure and that is as far as my planning has gone. However, my work might be to document things on Intsagram and start a Snapchat account with the sole intention of creating art. Smitty's Insta... @smittygrl , Snapchat to follow...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

SWOON (Caledonia Curry)

Staring her college education in painting at Pratt, Callie evolved because of her need to be connected to the world around her. She now uses primarily printmaking and installation. Her portraits show an amazingly deep understanding of how our human experiences are stories that show in our bodies and faces.

She says it beautifully in this video I found.

Then she talks even more clearly about her motivation in this TEDx event at Pratt in Brooklyn in 2010.

Her journey to become SWOON and what she did once she discovered that persona inspires me. Who she is and has become is a testament to the power of art to change perception, raise awareness and create "openings" in a seemingly fixed idea of the world. 

The prolific nature of her work astounds me. The prints she creates must take massive amounts of time and a commitment to her artistic vision. I am envious of and impressed by her dedication to her work. Perhaps most impressive, is her work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. She and some fellow artists and healers (their word, not mine) wanted to help the people devastated by this frightening disaster. The work they did is impressive and outpaced the slow movement of the NGO's that headed over to do very similar work, and theirs is beautiful! you can find that organization and work here.

Current shows....

Image titled "Hero" from a flyer of an artist talk she gave with a fellow street artist @

Below are some images from a recent show in San Fransisco at the Chandran Gallery

You can find her and her collaborators on Facebook -
or on Instagram @swoonhq , 
or at her foundation website  Heliotrope Foundation

Monday, January 4, 2016

Recent Inspiration

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley is an artist I discovered on Instagram. This is the first image I saw and it was love at first sight...

The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, 2008, oil on canvas,131"x112" 
Maybe it was because I recognized two things at once, mastery and intellect. I saw the undeniable skill and mastery of a gifted painter and simultaneously recognized the remarkable juxtaposition of reference, content, comment, and intelligence - it was utterly poignant. 

Because I am a student of Art History I immediately recognized Wiley's reference to an historical theme in religious art for centuries, expressed in various ways. This piece by Wiley is a direct reference to the groundbreaking foreshortened perspective of Andrea Mantegna in the 15th century.

Andrea Mantegna, The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, c.1490,
tempera on canvas, 27"x32" 
Here is a short, in depth explanation of Mantegna's work from Kahn Academy.  Wiley was not the first artist to "quote" Mantegna. Bazzi did it.

Giovanni Bazzi, c. 1503, oil on canvas, 30"x 43"
Annibale Carraci did it too.

Annibale Carraci, 1583-85, oil on canvas, 27.8" x 35" 
So "quoting," or following a great idea with your own version is a VERY old idea. I am somehow much more intrigued, moved and contemplative about Wiley's work than Mantegna's or others that came after.
As a strategy for great art suggested by T. S. Eliot asserts, he doesn't borrow from Mantegna, he steals. His improvements and extrapolations are simply genius. So I followed him on Instagram and looked for more. His prolific production of series and fearless investigation media and various thematic symbolism, and narrative, is intriguing and inspiring. Quite honestly I am hooked.

These Stained glass works are monopolizing a medium and format once reserved for religious iconography and narrative. Wiley has co-opted their sacred nature for a different use, a different story. He has been refered to as today's Andy Warhol. He has become a rock star of the art world for his innovative, and challenging outlook on the art world. I am inspired by his talent, his courage, and his work.

From a CBS Sunday Morning interview with Kehinde Wiley...

you can find more of Kehinde's work on his beautiful website, here.

next time....

Yinka Shonibare MBE(RA)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Other People's Art

In the past few months I have accumulated a fair amount of leftovers, cast-offs, unfinished or abandoned parts and pieces of art from around the Braitmayer studio. I have also been collecting some boxes and other found objects that appeal to me, or "speak" to me of their potential. My plan is to incorporate, add and recompose these flotsam and jetsam of the studio into a variety of artworks. I am thinking of these as a collaboration. Collaborations with unknown artists in some cases, or rejected efforts from students, but collaborations none the less. I am not entirely sure how they will look, or what materials I will add. I think my theme will be Anonymous Collaboration.