13 September 2012

up hill both ways

keep your chin up buttercup.
just smile, sunshine.

the longer you smile, the more my heart hurts.
just don't fall into indifference.

once, i loved it enough to invest two years of my life doing nothing but it.
once, i loved it enough to sign my financial future over to doing it.
i trusted myself to make it work.  hurting everyday i don't put efforts towards making it work.  
overwhelmed with guilt and overcome with homesickness.


as december tippy toes closer and closer, i feel the crushing weight of loan payment responsibilities.  i think about my un-visited studio. i wonder what i'd be making if i'd never stopped.  i wonder what i'll make when i start making again.

keep your chin up.
this isn't as good as it get.

07 September 2012


Life is about as new and unexpected as it has ever been for me.

I have [most likely] no educational goals left.
As it stands, I head towards being an artist.  And as that stands, it's about unstable as a wine glass in the back of a pick up truck driving down Durkee Road in my hometown. yes.

I've made some major life changes and decisions.  Some of which I said I'd never do. On her 21st birthday, my sister and I got tattoos together of our grandmother's handwriting.  A few days previous to that, I bought a bike.

Getting a bike has been the best decision of 2012.
It's the ultimate freedom that I don't think I have ever experienced.  When I was a kid, I'd spend so many minutes of the summer on my bike.  However, it was different; I had a very short leash, since my mom was the over protective type.  Buying a bike now hasn't been a source of entertainment, though it's now one of my favorite things to do - it was like buying my next car.  I sold my car last year, and have been relying on public transit ever since.  Talk about a short leash!  Nothing but absolute frustration and anger, surrounding every trip.  Matilda (as I've decided to name my Schwinn road bike) has become a permanent installation in my life, I feel an ultimate sense of freedom.  When I am on her, cruising down the street, I feel like I'm flying.  I'd like to go forever.  To be able to jump on her, and go anywhere - fast...Matilda has come at the perfect time.  It's a freedom I really needed right now.

25 June 2012

quick update

summer time has come with small, intermittent breaks from busy life.  my job is feeling more natural, and less stressful in various ways.  however, it's time consuming and exhausting.  for the first time, i'll be glad when summer is over.  my second job will end in august, and i feel i'll be able to move steadily in the direction of a newly-formed studio practice.
i have various things to look forward to -- a girls night next week, a weekend trip to d.c. in july, and a much needed week in myrtle beach in august (this one still rather pending).
i took a short day trip to the beach on friday.  it was gorgeous, and peaceful, and perfect.  scanning the ground on my walk, i saw so many amazing things.  i can lose track of time most easily on a beach - whether it's trying to take every inch in on a walk, or drifting off to sleep as the waves crash.  it was a nice recharge, and i look forward to my next ultra-mini-pocket-sized-vacation.

31 May 2012


no more going through the motions
no more sleep walking
no more baggage

I feel there's so much I carry with me; maybe from a past life, maybe engrained in me by parental figures.  I am done with the ritualistic and nearly automated responses to everything in my life.
I take responsibility for my actions, however, I don't fully understand why I have the equal emotional reactions to similar situations.  Jealousy, bitterness, hatred, ill-will.

Like in my yoga practice.
No more going through the motions, sleep walking, aware-less-ness.
Intention and response and awareness all of the time.  Exhausting my mental faculties, if necessary.
Considering emotional or irrational responses.  Understanding and accepting that I am only human, and breaking bad habits takes time and practice.  Offering myself options of how to respond.  Practicing patience.

Something I talk about a lot recently.  It makes me feel good.  As if I don't need to have everything [or anything] figured out.  Maybe not now, maybe never.  Maybe someday.  Still, allowing a margin.
Ceasing to live in a patterned state, blindly following the circle I've trampled down in the grass.  Moving towards the outer edges of my emotions and cognitive awareness.

6  6  6  6

29 May 2012

it's not the end of the world

When it comes to surviving, the time has come.  It's been a long time since I've had an income.  I don't have a problem not having very much money, but it's time for me to contribute.
I've completed my first day of training at my first post-school job.  Honestly, I was terrified.  But the people (my potential co-workers, if I make it through all the training) are very nice.

It's my first job with out an end in sight.  I know it can be temporary, and I can keep looking for a more "applicable job", but I had my heart set on never working in a restaurant again.  When I start thinking about getting a job or committing to a job, I start feeling a little panic-y and claustrophobic.  I jump right into "how do I get off?...I have family in Connecticut, can I go see them at Christmas time?" - nearly completely pointless things to worry about.  However, feeling sick of missing out on an evening social live, due to my coincidental work hours - I think that is totally acceptable to be concerned about.  I have a good feeling about this place though.  The manager is wonderful.  And it helps to have a friend starting there too.  It's nice to have someone working with you in the exact same position.  Coming from the exact same place.  Literally.
So, it's not the end of the world.  This is a transitional point, and it's really amazing to have a support system so close.  I'm grateful for my new studio-mates, and my friend, who's become my coworker.

28 May 2012

things I need to do this summer

1 - apply to shows // get exposure
2 - get [semi] degree-appropriate job
3 - paint my house
4 - get Summerly bikini wax...guh.
5 - spend a few days a the beach
6 - start making jewelry again
7 - start selling wallets locally
8 - sustain beautiful garden; grow a ton of basil
9 - visit D.C.
10 - do/ make :: yoga/studio

(list inspired by R. Clark)

25 May 2012

re-finding & understanding the way I exist

All I've been talking about lately is change, transition, shifting, difference in life now that school's over, and my difficulties with it.  I fell off the wagon in more ways than one.  I was settled in nicely to a routine; roll out of bed at 7:30 - 8 am, dress, make my raspberry green tea with a swirl of butter bean honey, and fly out the front door with a banana and a yoga mat in hand.  Once I made it to Pafa, I'd spend one hour at work study (typically mindless data entry for the Museum Education Department), while I sipped my tea and finished waking up.  By 10 or 10:30, I'd be in my studio, 8 floors up, dabbing away at a canvas.

I was exhausted at the end of graduation weekend, and as I've explained, the couch and left overs became my life (for about 3-6 days anyway).  This meant left over artichoke spinach dip, chips, crackers, creme brulee, and sangria. Hah! What a combination.

I am a person who easily falls off a routine, if others aren't counting or depending on me.  This is what happened.  I stopped caring for myself.  I ate crap, I stopped going to yoga and even my water intake went way down.  Two weeks of that, and my body is back where it started 3 months ago.  I don't doubt that it will take very little time to move back to feeling good and looking slimmer.  It is bothersome that I let it happen at all.

I went to yoga yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks.  This morning, my body is aching.  My abs, my shoulders, my arms - uggg...I plan on going again on Saturday morning.  If I've never mentioned it before, the yoga studio I go to is great.  The teachers are wonderful, it's large, clean, very affordable, and it's hot (maybe the best part).  Check it out if you live in the Philadelphia area.  Any way, my point is, Thursday morning instructor, Marcie, always pushes the hardest.  She is a very calm and matter-of-fact instructor.  Just do it.  There is something about the tone of her voice that always makes me try a little harder or hold on a little longer.  I am big on yoga instructors reminding you to honor your body and staying within in your limits.  I don't know if I don't need to be told this any more, or if I just know if to be fact (in case I need it), but she doesn't say his very often and I like it.  Don't give me an excuse not to, because I probably won't.

I made a produce run after yoga yesterday morning.  It makes all the difference; having fresh fruits and veggies in the house, and I always do.  - Except for the past 2 weeks! - but no more.  I am getting back to my morning green tea, and three meals a day, and yoga, and studio.  The two things I want to be able to support in my life, post-grad, are my two practices: yoga and studio.
I believe that environment does a lot for your mental state and motivation.  I am not making excuses, however, I can feel a definite change in the flow in my house since the studio crap intake.

I know what effects my life, and what I need to do on a daily basis to be clear minded and moving forward.  I must always be moving forward, not back.  Blogging is a tool I am also starting to use [again], in order to have some accountability for myself and my thoughts.  I turned to blogging right before I graduated with my BFA and it helped.  This blog has been with me for that long, and I look back with some embarrassment.  However, it's a good catalogue of my life, and I love it for what it is.
Oh, and ps, tomorrow's the day I move in to new studio! :)
Pictures soon!

23 May 2012

growing green

As my new studio space sits in limbo, while credit checks and paper work gets shuffled, I turn back to my home.  The sun is warmer and up longer.  My plants and trees are happy happy.  I grew some roots on pussy willow branches Michael brought home months ago.  In April, I dug a whole out back and plopped them in.  They are thriving and growing several pointy green leaves.  Strawberries are just as happy, putting out deep pink flowers everyday.  In door plants are going just as well, but will be doing better once my studio clutter is out of the house and back in a studio, where it belongs.  


Attention to my plants doesn't typically waiver.  I enjoy having them around, and taking care of them gives me a small break in my day.  I only wish I didn't have plaster walls and ceilings so I could hang them all over the place.

21 May 2012

moving on

Moving from Arcadia into a year of limbo, then into Pafa was different.  It was different from what I am experiencing now.  Last time I graduated, I knew grad school still had to happen.  The year in between was tolerable and free of panic.  

This time, there is no more "easy" or "safe" school option.  

Some people don't "do" grad school.  
Some people seem to be saving it for later.  
Some seem to want to wait.  -  I didn't.  
I didn't savor the time in between school environments , and I enjoyed every second I was in grad school.  
I wouldn't give up the connections and friendships I developed for anything.  
My mentors and critics provided wise, yet firm guidance, with much needed understanding.  My peers, always knowing how much more I could be and do, pushed and encouraged me.   (Some more blatantly than others.)

I moved passed a very naive and insecure part of my life.  
I have earned my Masters.

The first few days after family and friends went home were empty and motionless.  Then something happened.  I went to look at a studio space with Philippa and Kristen; friends and co-MFA graduates.  We took a studio, about a mile from my house, in Old Kensington.  I returned home after agreeing to be financially responsible for a 3rd of 1050 square feet.  
Bigger than my house.  
I was blind with panic.  
Where does this money come from?  How do I get a job? Right now?

It's 4 days later.  Several resumes, cover letters and teaching philosophies later, and the panic has numbed a little bit.  It's still there, but prospects are looking better.  I found out early this morning that, despite Pafa's policy of suspending "left over" work-study hours of graduating students, I can finish using them!  In addition to that, I have developed a relationship with a local boutique owner.  My wallets will be available to buy at Swag at the end of the week!  Checks from thesis sales and studio deposit will be in my pocket later in the summer, but for now I'm a little bit better.
I have high hopes for the applications that have been sent out, and I am still picking friend's brains, combing InLiquid and yes...eyeballing craigslist for anything that sounds remotely interesting.  I pray I stay strong against the pull of the service industry.   But even better, I am becoming more and more excited to be apart of a creative community with my new studio-mates.

Things are becoming less bleak.  It means everything to sustain an out-of-home work space, and a peer community.  I can see the other side.  

It's a life style commitment.  Not a hobby, not a phase.  I have to make it work, no matter how many odd-jobs I have to take.

*top photo curtesy of Ruth

16 May 2012

post-graduation - I HAVE MY MFA

So, post graduation is worse than I thought.
There is less to look forward to than I realized, and more alone time than I anticipated.

I have very specific ideas about what I want as a money-making time-filler.  I feel as though I have at least a few months before I have to re-evalute them.
I've been submitting applications to dream-jobs (full-time art teacher at a local Friends School), spending lots of time formulating convincing sentences about my teach philosophy, and making the corner spot of my L-shaped couch a little  squishier.
Today, I spent a few hours tearing apart and packing up my studio 813 at PAFA.  It felt like I was putting down a pet, or saying good bye to a friend.  Forever.  My heart is heavy, but I know there's so much more right around the corner.  The option of a shared studio space has me caught between emotions - excitement and fear (of not being able to afford it).

I'm not a self-starter.  You'd think with all this down time I would have gotten all my house painting done, deep-cleaned the wood floors and jumped back into my exercise regiment.

picture via rachelclark twitter

I did get a rejection letter.  Accomplishment?  Sure.

My family-friend graduation weekend was spectacular.  I was terrible - terrible - at taking pictures, but family and friends with awesome-er cameras stepped up.  I've collected a few pictures from the opening and the weekend.
[I always get really upset when I have visitors, and realize that we didn't take enough pictures while they were here.] ...OH well, move forward :)

my wall with Julie Jung (collector) and myself

parents with classmates (and more of my thesis work behind them)

Michael and I

mom and I (I have her blue eyes)


The public opening was extremely overwhelming and crowded.  I didn't expect it to be quite so draining.  Thank you to Michael's father, Rafael and Ruth for taking such great pictures.  The evening included a long and wordy graduation ceremony, a very enthusiastic Pafa alum (who purchased 6 of my pieces, yay!!), and foods upon foods at home with family and friends.  And yes, I did spill red wine on my white dress by the end of the night :)


The next day included cheesesteaks from both Pat's and Geno's (shh!), Reading Terminal, and more drinks and food:

Sunday morning was short and sweet - a walk to and breakfast at Honey's.  It was perfect weather, and I look forward to the day when my childhood friends come back and share more time with me in Philly.

walking - everywhere
smile, rach!
 Friends since 4th grade 

Thanks again for photos from Rachel, Rafael and Ruth!

Looking forward to tomorrow, and the options it's going to bring :)

26 April 2012

My poem.

Fortunate for the ego and the id
The mind has an opening, it has a lid
And one can peer into what would seem
The consciousness running as a stream
And there within that scene now browsed
The identity is sitting there all housed.
Within such emporium so vast
Is all the future and all the past,
Knowledge, pain, hope and fear
And growth and change all appear.
Religion is there as well as doubt
And all the things we're concerned about.
And there as well, it should not seem strange,
Are all the seeds of growth and change.
It's true that within our tiny round
Are all the truths of worlds profound.

-Daniel Miller, Chair of Graduate Program at PAFA


As a tradition, Dan Miller writes a poem for each graduating MFA student, to show his gratitude for our participation in the program.  It is a sending off of sorts, a "good luck and good bye" party - kudos - held over lunch during one of the last days of the semester.  Each poem is inspired by each student's thesis, as Dan reads every single one (39, this year) during his daily train commute between Lancaster and Philadelphia.  He came to PAFA in 1955 as a student, and never exactly left.  He is a true renaissance man, and an "elegant man" in the words of Murray Dessner.  The experience of hearing each poem read to each student was moving and inspirational.  I know I speak for all my fellow MFAs that this truly meant the world to us.  This poem will go in a frame, and on the wall of my next studio.
Thank you, Dan from the bottom of my heart.

20 April 2012


I've recently re-entered into my yoga practice.
acknowledgement, awareness, acceptance

I feel that my studio practice translates into so many other aspects of my life; from my relationships and interactions with people, to something as domestic cooking (like in post below).

Yoga, on the other hand, has translated into my studio practice.

acknowledgement, awareness, acceptance

Breathing deeply into positions that may hurt at first.
Eventually it feels natural, and it's time to breath and settle deeper.

> > > > > < < < < <

04 April 2012

cooking in the kitchen = making in the studio

As much as cadmium runs in my veins, and as much as I talk about painting, I reject it as my primary medium.

I do not call myself a painter.

I do not believe in being a single disciplined artist.

It doesn’t offer me everything I need when I think about making.

It’s like saying I’m a chef, but I will only cook with tomatoes. You can do an awful lot with tomatoes, but not enough.

I believe in creating in a coincidental way, staying alert for potential, and reflecting or editing after making.

03 April 2012


Waiting and slow, slow learning how to be alone, and edit, and analyze. Practicing the art of keeping myself grounded and objective, when outside of the making process. It will be the same as when I am here in my Cherry Street studio. The solitude will echo for longer periods of time, but it won’t last forever.

We are never truly on our own. We aren’t like sea creature which are born and immediately subjected to life or death by virtue of luck or being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Then again...maybe we [artists] are subject to that level of natural selection?

19 March 2012

New musings

A large part of the goals deeply embedded in seams of my practice consist of escapism. I respect my artist ancestry and I often look to it for guidance, but it is most important to me that the clarity of the immediate lineage, remains a mystery.

I work across mediums ultimately to advance and inform the others. There is no separateness between the life of a sculpture and a painting. I make them from each other and for each other; places for my things and things for my places.

I find myself interested in the body, distortion, discomfort and societal expectations of the body image [typically female]. Confusion and ambiguity work in tandem to encourage a “visual sustainability” about my pictures.

I retain an intense curiosity between interiority and exteriority, which play a role in my thing-making as well; capturing table tops or legs, crevasse or bulges.

29 February 2012


Weeks ago, I was contacted by one of my deans at Pafa. A proposal came in the form of an e-mail; it almost seemed too good to be true. An offer came from Anthropologie: for starters, Pafa faculty was asked to nominated select students. We were then asked if we were interested in submitting clothing patterns/designs to be selected by Anthropologie which would then made into clothing - to sell in stores. I reluctantly responded that I would be interested in trying my hand at pattern design. Shortly after we returned from Winter break, I was told to come pick up my fabric from Anne's office. I marched up there - or down, rather, for some reason whenever I use an elevator to go floor to floor, I think it's going up.

Anyway, I picked the black jersey (instead of the canvas-colored option). It had a skirt outline traced on it - a square with hips, basically. It had pockets on the bum. I thought it was kind of short for an Anthro silhouette, but got to work nonetheless.
Cut to 2 days later: I've ruined my black fabric. I throw it out, and go get the canvas colored fabric. It worked a little bit better, but I still struggled with the design of it. I didn't want to put one of my paintings, literally, on this skirt. I felt that would cheapen my oil paintings. I was rushed in working on it, and was trying to wait for it to dry in between layers. My head was somewhere torn between pattern and painting, and clothing and art... It was hard. A challenge to say the least.

Second week in February: I see Anne in the lobby of the 4th floor, her arms full of rolled up student pattern submissions. The Anthro reps have just left; they made their selection. She sees me as the elevator door closes, nods her head yes and says quietly, "Anthropologie. You - " And the door closed. I think she said "got it." Oh my God, I almost died.
3 minutes later, I got a call from Pafa's main number. It was Anne. I did get it. I was picked. I couldn't believe it. They actually want to make my pattern into a piece of clothing to sell in their stores! Turns out they loved so many of the patterns, they picked 3 student works, including mine.

So it's gone off to some other country (unfortunately) to be manufactured (hand painted is the word they keep using. Good luck copying this:). My bio and inspiration has been written and turned in, to be formatted on a cute little Anthro tag and hung on my garment. It will be available in Anthropologie stores in June or July 2012. How amazing is that?! That's my big news for the year.

I am so excited.
And so honored to be picked.
And I cannot wait to see it in the flesh.

Here's to more opportunities like this!

struggling to unite the pattern...

it is a continuous pattern from left to right >>>

back panel

front panel

21 February 2012

Meet: Zooey

Sometimes a new puppy is just enough to help you push past all the bullshit you deal with on a daily basis. Zooey isn't our pup, but we'll be seeing her often (just not at 4am when she needs to go out!)

13 February 2012

Photos from finished animations.

full video, in progress

Once upon a time,
I was a girl who couldn't stand jeans under the covers.
Then I could.
Now, I can't again.

Shoes go without saying.
My shoes are on, and under the blanket on the couch.
It's all I can think about.

08 February 2012

spending time alone

Sometime I can't get over how beautiful the swirls of oil paint look on my broken glass pallet.
Sometime I don't like how hard I have try to make intelligible art.
Sometimes the inside of my terp jar is perfect.
Sometimes I notice pigment caught in my linseed oil.

Sometimes I hate painting.

But what I love more is the feeling when I'm lost deep in making a painting.
How every mark I make can hold potential perfection. I love dancing around, considering the invincible nature of the artist. Then I sit down and look,
and analyze, and think about what a critical eye might say.
And I cover it all up.

Being alone is hard.
Being alone is hard, because sometimes I don't know what "they" would say about what I do.
It's difficult to comprehend how I was supposed to learn how to be alone,
and how I'm supposed to have developed that inner voice that helps the alone-ness.

Being alone is hard.