Friday, January 23, 2015

A Shiny Winter Tonic


Main Street Art Gallery, located in a picturesque two-story building in Clifton Springs, NY, decided to counteract winter’s chill by inviting an eclectic mix of artists (my absolute favorite type of show) to participate in Solid Gold, a celebration of glowing 2 and 3-D works featuring ceramics, sculpture, painting and mixed media. All works incorporate metallic paint or gold leaf on their surfaces.



The opening was great fun, one of the best ones I’ve been to, friendly and down to earth and the perfect tonic for a cold, dark January day. 


Main Street Art Gallery also invited me to contribute a post to their Inside the Artist Studio series and I hope you will click the link and take a look.

Confession. I haven’t blogged in over a year. I was questioning so many things about being an artist including what place art has in our culture. Then I realized my job is to be true to my own inner inspirations and share that with anyone who is interested. I can’t control or often understand what’s happening in the rest of the world but I can choose to live my own life each day connected to my spirit of adventure and creativity.

So creating – the research, experiments, failures, explorations and victories that all go into turning ideas into form – are where we’ll go this year on these pages. Comment, share, join in the dance – those who love creating are a tribe and I’m eager to meet more of mine.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mindful Marketing Practices, Step One



       This image is from

 Since I’m endlessly curious, clearing my mind to practice mindfulness is important to me. So are setting intentions. I started this year with a personal vision quest – eight full days -- through snowstorms and subzero temps (in Chicago, I’m told, the zookeepers even brought the polar bears indoors!). 

 My retreat unfolded this way. First I happened onto a self-inventory called "The Gifts of 2013" from Susannah Conway. I spent New Year’s Day writing until I had filled it all out.  When I reviewed what I had written about the pluses and minuses of 2013, I savored the confident, positive woman I saw reflected back to me.

 A few days later I met with two fellow artists with long corporate careers and much expertise to discuss our desires and directions for 2014. I acknowledged that I am very savvy about marketing for others but not on my own behalf.  Could I change that mindset and still be true to my own values? Indeed I can.

As I take steps this year to make my work more visible, then my audience -- those people who will invest in my works -- will find me. How can people purchase my work if they don’t know it exists?

Just who is my desired audience? As I visualize them, here's what I see:

  • You appreciate contemporary art. It ignites your interest and delights you. You surround yourself with original art in your home and office.
  • You have confidence in your taste. You trust your instincts.
  • You're informed. You learn about the artists who interest you.  If possible, you visit their studios and connect with them personally.

  •  You're comfortable with contemporary art. You make it a point to visit museum exhibitions and gallery shows because you enjoy learning.  You spend time with a work to really see and appreciate it.
  • You share your enthusiasm for the arts and artists with your friends, family and co-workers. You may be low-key about it but you are definitely an advocate for artists. 
  • You think for yourself. You enjoy purchasing art that will increase in value but you don’t make your purchases based on profits. Today’s stars come and go in contemporary art as in music and movies; you choose to buy art that captivates you rather than follow trends and passing fads.
  • You are a genuine, compassionate and interesting person. You probably wouldn’t find visual art appealing if you weren’t!

My audience is out there – and since I  have a clearer idea of who they are, it will be easier to develop ideas for how to reach them.



Monday, March 18, 2013

New Explorations: Chapter 1

So many of you have expressed interest in what my new directions will be. The core of my ideas and concepts are not changing, I’m just not using dyes and silk as my materials.

I am still deeply committed to considering the effects of time and aging on memory and personal identities through my “fluttering pages” series.

But yes, a new series of pieces using paper pulp is now underway. Raphaela McCormack, a talented artist and friend, is teaching me about working with it. Do go to her website and look at her work; I love her sailing vessels and canoes.


            First, Raphaela showed me how to form basic sheets of paper.


             Then we set up the wet room to dive into testing out a few of my specific ideas. On the right is a sample threadwork memory map dipped into and layered with pulp.


My first “paper and threadwork” sculptural sample hangs on my design wall. So much potential!

Like every first try, my eye sees issues to resolve for the next ones, but it’s an exciting beginning.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hungerford Artists: Thaw 3 Delivers Diversity

For the third year, artists from the Hungerford Building combined forces March 1 –8 to show their work in “Thaw 3”. “Thaw” exhibits have taken place all over Rochester and surrounding areas, a collaboration of Regional Gallery Directors’ Forum at Roberts Wesleyan College.


The diversity of mediums and subject matter in the Hungerford “Thaw” shows are always inspiring, but more so are the commitment and focus evident in the artists’ works.


Even with over 20 artists displaying multiple works, this huge studio space in the building could have held more! Here is a small selection of the works in this years THAW 3:


Robert Rogaliski’s (studio #222) wonderful imagination comes to life in this mixed media work, titled “Falling Leaf”.


Detail, “Falling Leaf”, mixed media, Robert Rogalski


Cody Kroll’s “Chadogu – Tea Utensils”, an installation featuring vessels using 16th century and modern American shino glazes.  Cody writes in his artist statement at his website, “In the last few years I have become fascinated conceptually by the "living" nature of clay and themes of impermanence.” See a full view in the image at the top of this page.  Cody’s studio is #228.


 Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle, “Light Snack”, Airigami, studio #234, silver halide print, young girl with balloon sculpture.

Hungerford is home base for Airigami, where Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle design balloon installations for venues all over the country. They’re currently awaiting publication of two children’s books they’ve written and illustrated with – of course -- their innovative balloon works.

One of my favorite artists in the building is Michael Pigett, who paints cloud paintings that are gentle, sensitive contemplations of light and movement. I left some the background surrounding this painting in because the two interact in such an interesting way. 


Michael Pigett, “Clouds”, oil on canvas


Olivia Kim, “Walking Woman”, studio #335, hydrocal and encaustics. Olivia’s love of the figure and her supreme attention to realistic detail inform her body of work.

Many thanks to Constance Mauro and Jennifer Buckley for coordinating the Hungerford Thaw 3 exhibit.

 If you live in the Rochester area, please visit the Hungerford Building, 1115 East Main St., Rochester, NY,  on First Friday Gallery Nights (go to this page for a listing of the studios open each month) and enjoy offerings of art and craft in every conceivable medium.

Visiting First Friday at Hungerford combines adventure, inspiration – and good exercise! – all in one convenient indoor location.

Parking is crazy on First Fridays, but here’s the way to avoid the crowds: Just park across the road in the bank parking lot or half a block down on the same side of East Main at the Greenovations building. Plenty of room in both! And do make sure to come visit me in studio #366!


Friday, March 1, 2013

2013 Niche Award and JGK Galleries’ Art ROC Showcase Winner


This excellent week started with discovering that Book of the Ancients 8: Bethel Park Elementary, won a 2013 Niche Award in decorative fiber. My piece, among 40 professional and 19 student winners, will be featured in the spring issue of Niche Magazine. This was the first time I entered Niche, so I was doubly pleased, first to be selected as a finalist and then to receive this prestigious award for my work.

J_Beck_bookoftheancients8 My Book of the Ancients pieces consider the effects of time on memory and personal histories.

But that’s not all the delightful surprises this week brought.  Last night Bob and I attended the closing reception for JGK Galleries’ Art ROC Showcase, which features 12 regional artists. This juried exhibition offered a first prize of gallery representation and a solo show for one of the artists. Last night when the winning name was announced, it was – mine!

IMG_0071JGK’s space is warm and inviting with brick walls, gleaming hardwood floors and generous wall space, as well as ample room for 3-D works. IMG_0070


Out of twelve artists, Renee Simone-Lee and I were the two women selected to exhibit in the JGK Galleries Art ROC 2013 Showcase. Of course we rock!

Tonight will be the last night to see JGK Galleries Art ROC Showcase 2013, which will be open for First Friday gallery night in Rochester. Check out JGK’s Facebook page and you can see work by all 12 artists in the exhibition.

If good things come in threes, that means I can look forward to one more bit of good news arriving. It is fun to imagine all the good things that might be!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Janet Echelman: Imaginings


 “When Inspiration finds me, she will find me at work.”  Picasso

Today I’m writing a press release for the Surface Design Association’s upcoming June 6-9 In-ter-face Conference in San Antonio. Janet Echelman is our keynote speaker; her lecture title, “Taking Imagination Seriously.”

Janet, a 1987 Harvard graduate, started her art career as a painter. As she describes in her TED talk (below), she applied for and received a Fulbright to travel to India in 1987 and create paintings. The artist arrived, but her paints did not. As she watched fisherman weaving their nets along the beach, a new idea emerged, to create a three-dimensional woven structure that could move and float in the air. That initial project has evolved into designing massive floating sculptural installations for urban spaces around the world.

While I am awed at the scale and fluidity of these forms and impressed at how they animate and engage the steel and concrete environments and human populations that surround them, what impresses me most is Janet herself as a creative. As the TED talk reveals, Janet has candor, humor and a passion for creative process and the power of imagination that are contagious.

In this new year, as I challenge my own imagination to be bolder, more daring and confident, this artist is the first one I am choosing as a touchstone. The above image of Janet seems to encapsulate her energy and creative vision.

I am drawn to the communal nature of Echelman’s work.  Rendering her ideas into form engages experts in engineering, science and even aeronautics in a collaborative process. When artistic vision mingles with science and physics, all contribute to a creative process that leads to awe-inspiring results. 

Janet broached this same subject as a TED talk in 2011:

I am eager to hear Janet speak more fully on imagination at the Surface Design Association conference. This artist/imagineer, her history, ideas and experiences as a maker will be a fitting launch for a conference that always inspires and informs my own creative practice.

(For more, read this Huffington Post interview with Echelman.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The End of An Era Sale's Not Over Yet! Lovely Works Up For Adoption

After a hugely successful sell-off and give away at my studio a week ago, with ample reassurances to people that I am not terminally ill, not leaving my studio space, and not leaving the field of fibers and textiles, I find that I still have some items left. 

 I am listing a few remaining items for sale that I don't want to see go back in the dark depths of my storage area. I would rather place them with people who will appreciate and enjoy them. My work is shifting in some new directions and I'm making space for the new with this letting go. It feels very freeing and I wholeheartedly recommend this if you're ready to shift your own work and directions.  

First, my Susan Moyer silk painting frame combo set. Used but in terrific condition. Directions, extra fabric stretching hook packs. $200 includes shipping in the U.S.

IMG 0008

Then, how about some art at prices so low that the only reason NOT to buy one is because you just plain don't like it?!? Each one of these pieces can be yours via credit card or Paypal. Prices include shipping in the continental U.S. All three are ready to hang and in excellent condition (they've been wrapped and stored!).

IMG 0014

This piece, called Interior Landscape 3, is 18" x 27" (approximately), has a hanger and lots of stitched details and texture on a stitched felt ground. I'm selling it to someone who will love and appreciate it for $200 or best offer. 

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Another personal favorite is "Forgotten Language", 18" x 27" (approximate), which is silk with machine and hand stitching. The one is $200 or best offer. 

IMG 0016"En Route" is the third piece I'd like to send a new and loving home. This traveled for several  years with the touring 2007 SDA Member show. You can enjoy the delicate hand stitching on its hand painted, textured surface for just $200 or best offer. 

Please share this post with your friends and help these works find new, loving homes!