Friday, April 10, 2020

Crazy times . That is all I can say. What about you?  find myself procrastinating most times and then diving into something like this!


April 17, 3 pm est  Zoom
This will be a fast pace demo introducing or refreshing  you to some of my favorite materials in the studio when I begin to build surfaces for my paintings and works on paper. We will go over  approaching a blank canvas, mark-making, working wet on wet, and mono printing using water media and oil.  I will introduce tools and methods to add and subtract paint and marks. Opacity and transparent, warm and cool and layering will be addressed. I will also include work in process that are dry to demonstrate what happens next.
April 23 3 pm est Zoom
A follow up with short demos and questions.

Optional Materials List if you would like to join along:

With this code  (LP104920). The $100 rule for free shipping still apply and  enter the free shipping code to receive the free ground shipping. .
palette knives
bowl scraper or old credit cards
tissue paper(like wrapping tissue), newsprint,
kitakata paper(Jerry’s Artist Outlet)
things to make texture
paper towels
unscented baby wipes
vegetable oil


Introduction to Oil and Cold Wax
Advanced Encaustic: Layering, Richness and Translucany
Encaustic: Large Format
Drawing Prompts
Fundamentals of 2d Design

I would like to thank Jeffery for this great interview

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Back Again

Navigation  10 x 8 encaustic

I can't believe I am here again. The first time I focused on the blog was right after I quit my job waitressing about ten years ago. (Yes, I waited tables for way too many years while I/We  raised our kids and made art. )
After quitting I gave myself a year to get something going.
 I focused my energy on  painting, teaching and doing workshops and blogging.
I always enjoyed writing about my process, thoughts, and featuring other artists.
And the social media happened and I lost interest.

Now we are in such a strange place of isolation.

I have lots to say about what's happening  but need more coffee. 

Meanwhile I would like to plug this video that I made a while ago.
It for sale for 60.00  until April 10 when the price will go up.

You can also go to my You Tube Channel  for lots of clips and fun demos.

Teaching Video

Teaching Videos
I  have just launched my online encaustic instructional videos called “Approaching Encaustic”. There are nine videos covering basic and advanced techniques. The introductory rate for the complete video course is 60.00 until April 5, 2020

Monday, May 7, 2018

Words from Artist Paula Overbay

So happy to have Paula Overbay on the blog this week. I have been a fan for quite a while.

The Pale Blue Dot for Carl Sagan 11x16 inches Acrylic on Paper 2014-19 

1 Dream I 22x22 inches Acrylic on Wood 2018

“Impermanence is the very fragrance of our days” is Rainer Maria Rilke’s elegant way of speaking about inevitable change, something that has threaded its way through my work from the beginning.  

The idea continued to compress, concentrating on wind and rain and clouds and has shifted into molecules.

Molecules as metaphor: molecules growing in rain clouds or in our bodies pulsing or in the constellations moving.  

How did this happen?  I didn’t plan on making smaller and smaller paintings with smaller and smaller dots. 
 I wanted to make monumental work. You know; the important stuff…..

2 Dream II Acrylic on Wood 22x22 inches. 2018

While at the MacDowell Colony in NH some years ago I noticed a large pod of 
something on my porch wall. It slowly unfurled into luminous green wings with 
black spots and dried off in the sun. A lunar moth.  It went off for its day of living 
and I went off to work. Several years later I was making paintings with black dots
and several years after that I learned about luminosity.

After absorbing luminosity I found myself sitting bored for two weeks at the Ragdale Colony in IL. 
Nothing was worth doing. My eyes rested finally on 
the gray work table in front of me and I noticed the marks and 
dots and stray blobs left by other colonists.  I started copying them and before 
the six weeks were over I had evolved into the dot patterns that continue 
to energize my compositions.

Composition is the name of the game for me: mass, pattern, line, color, 
and value with movement given priority.  I set up a problem by scattering elements 
on a prepared ground and try to avoid making important 
compositional relationships for as long as possible.  When I am finally cornered 
into making decisions about connections I have to sit and look. Looking takes 
up about 60% of the time and painting takes the remainder.

Dissipation IIAcrylic on Paper 11x16inches 2017

I have followed Cy Twombly, Paul Klee, Roberto Matta and Friedrick Hundertwasser for as long as I can remember. I became a fan of Janice Caswell only recently.
They all speak of breathing and moving freely; of invention and play. 

Looking at Klee’s “Twitter Machine” made me think about images moving of 
their own volition.

Matta defies gravity and makes speedy gestural lines spinning and noisy. 

Hundertwasser knows about circles and spirals and intense color. 

Cy Twombly floats.

Janice Caswell, a contemporary Brooklyn artist, does off kilter unexpected constructions from reject materials and transcends the material.

instagram overbayp
facebook  paula overbay

Monday, February 26, 2018

Stuart Shils Answers

After taking a look at this post I recommend looking at Stuart Shils website to see the scope of his work!

glimpses of a summer 40 years ago, reconstructed over a long coffee
12x20 inches
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite, 2018

two french summers
12x20 inches
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite, 2018

1972, how we felt on the beach the next day in the sun after hearing Dizzy Gillespie play outdoors at the Nice festival the night before
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite
12x21 inches, 2018

visiting Avi near Antibe, summer
12x19 inches, 2017
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite

1967, when my brother Larry was at school and we heard the Doors and were already reading Huxley
15x15 inches
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite. 2017.

July 1972, night swimming at Rosh Hanikrah with a beach fire
15x15 inches
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite, 2017

what inspires me 

So many moments hurl themselves in delicious and seductive ways all day long, but it’s mostly what I absorb with eyes, ears and hands, no matter how ordinary. But I can’t really think of anything as ‘ordinary’ because I’m not sure what that means. Ordinary?

Unexpected moods or shapes or combinations of form leap out from every direction, but if I’m distracted by so called ‘real life’ stuff, then I usually miss the ravishing assault of say, a fleeting moment like walking into Carpenters Woods in the morning with my dog, on a cold, cloudy February day and the visual unity of the entire place is the color of a macchiato with a lot of milk and it feels like an all enveloping, sensuous operatic stage set. If I’m thinking about how low my bank account is, I miss it. So I try to live in denial.

1979, two days in Kabul visiting an old friend
acrylic, collage, paper, graphite
12x21 inches, 2017

Personal History

I came to the visual arts very slowly and in a way that was totally unexpected and later than usual. And I was kind of a shocked when it happened.

My grandfather received his Rabbinic ordination before leaving Russia in 1919 and we were a very close family, and he had a beautifully resonant and soulful voice and loved music and often played records and sang when I was at his apartment.

While quite young I was very influenced by liturgical music and sound in general. My parents had lots of records in the house – Broadway shows, Shubert, Opera, Paul Robeson, Beethoven and such and I had my own small record player as a kid and music always made a lot of sense and was all through my teems, my primary obsession, both as a player and as a listener.

I discovered the ‘underground’ at around 12 years old via an important underground radio station in Philadelphia, and began listening to and playing folk music and rock and roll and looking at (which is different from reading) things like the Evergreen Review and magazines that had a lot of visual content. Graphics and images were very high profile in the 60’s in both literary and musical culture.

Also, I grew up on the edge of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, an area full of exquisitely romantic Lutyens influenced architecture, and the meanings of and presences of architectural form played a huge roll in the development of my visual and emotional imaginations.

My parents were both children of eastern European immigrants and we were not financially or culturally secure so a life in the visual arts was not something that for any of us was even a remote conceptual possibility.

However, my uncle Zev was a photographer and his fascination with the camera had significant impact on me very early on and after a certain age I always had a camera around. And he’s the one who told me, if you want to be a photographer than you have to go to art school to learn how to see. I was intrigued by this idea of what ‘seeing’ was.

Getting there was an adventure and of course met with a lot of familial resistance, and I took a circuitous and improvisational educational path before arriving in 1977 at the art school now called PAFA, what we used to call The Academy. And I stayed for 5 years, it was an extraordinary experience and just what I needed. Before that I went to architecture school for a few years, and also studied literature and art history and, did several years of night school for commercial design. In total, I was in school for 10 ½ years but have no actual ‘degree’.

Also, when I graduated high school I traveled in Europe and Israel alone, and I was very impressionable visually, in all the best senses and this trip introduced my imagination to the beauties and possibilities of travel as a portal to something else.

As a teenager and young adult, I spent a lot of time in the outdoors hitch hiking, hiking and backpacking in places like the White Mountains, Canadian Rockies and Cape Breton, and was very influenced by people like Muir, Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. In college, poets like Wallace Stevens and Wordsworth were so important for me. Wordsworth opened huge worlds that connected me to Turner, Constable and Samuel Palmer.

In my first year at college I had the painter Lee Hall for art history and she taught in a way that was object oriented and not academic chronological. And we were very close to New York and I often took the Erie Lackawanna in to go to the MET to do research for papers. The process of sustained looking at paintings really took my head like a kite in the wind, although it was still years before arriving at art school.

5 artsts who turn me on and why

This past year I saw an exhibition of the ceramic artist Stanley Rosen at steven harvey fine art projects in New York and the show knocked me out. They were on the one hand, very modest in size, but at the same time carried an enormous, uncanny power and each one seemed to project an unusual sense of emotional vulnerability.

I have always been fascinated by the drawings of Emily Nelligan. In an art world so full of big, noise, arrogance and pretension, her charcoal drawings on 8 ½ x 11 inch pieces of paper are feasts for the visual imagination and their grip is often so strong that I don’t want to turn away from them.

The work of the English artist Roger Ackling has been of great interest to me since the late 90’s. Here is a guy who sat outside in the sun, burning with magnifying lenses, small marks into found wood from the beach. He wasn’t painting but then again he was or was it sculpture? With Acking there is a Zen like simplicity that at the same time is ironically complex and reminds us of how it’s not about the materials per se as much as how they are handled bty the shape of thought.

The still life paintings of Susan Jane Walp are for me some of the most wonderful contemporary paintings. I am constantly surprised by what she introduces into an approximately 9x9 inch canvas and talk about an extreme and diverse sense of touch. The variation in how the surfaces are handled and how they carry the viewer’s eye, offers the kind of surprise and discovery that are equivalent in a way to the unexpected literary delights we encounter when reading Wallace Stevens.

I have a young friend named Saranoa Mark , she lives in Chicago and is making beautiful and evocative work and I’m intrigued by how she thinks about materials and what her hands do with whatever she’s examining.

what thoughts do I have to turn off in the studio?

Ha, ha, ha, almost all of them. I have carved above the entrance: ‘don’t think’. But the first thoughts I try to turn off are those related to any sense of right and wrong, to other people’s thoughts, to the art world, to what ‘worked’ in the past and, I try to banish any thoughts related to achievement other than simply getting dug in and lost as quickly as possible. Being lost is at this point in my life so important. As I begin work it’s a process of removing all of those thought impediments that are really like toxic waste, by engaging as directly as possible with the process of feeling whatever it is I’m trying to do and by letting the emerging structure of the work inhabit my imagination so that I forget everything else. These days I’m standing over a very wide table and the extended looking down on the work at hand and using my hands on it as much as possible helps to laminate the emerging train of form thoughts about shapes, colors, lines and mood, onto and into my brain which is what I need if I’m going to let it take me away from what I already know.

What do I see from the studio window?

My studio windows are such important companions while I’m in those rooms, much more important for me than listening to NPR. I could write pages about that relationship but really it all exists day to day beyond words and I prefer to live while in there, beyond words. In the primary working space there are four windows, each quite different. almost like four children in a family each with her and his own independent profile. Wherever and whenever I’m looking it’s never the same, depending on the light, the weather, the density of the air, where I’m standing in the room and what my own mood is in the moment. And I love all that variation and it keeps me alive in many ways. Windows have always been like vast portals, almost like reading very deep and hypnotic literature.

I remember an apocryphal story from 1974 when I was doing an influential summer program at PCA in Philly (now UARTS), and while studying with Doris Stafel I really began understanding seeing. I was also living with my folks that summer and late one afternoon I was sitting in my room, gazing with my eyes out the window and luxuriating in a recently emerging engagement with the visual world. And my mother came in and asked what I was doing. This was the 70's and there was a lot of contention in every direction and we were not doing so well generationally. And I said, I'm looking out the window and she said, looking out the window, that's it? Is something wrong? How could i explain to my dear mother that nothing was wrong, but to the contrary, that everything was right.

Windows have been a refuge and salvation for me during my entire life. On all the early report cards from elementary school, repeatedly the teachers wrote, ‘he sits and looks out the window’. Well what did they expect, what was going on in the classroom was deadly boring. So my Mom saw the pattern and was worried about me, but couldn’t really appreciate what splendor and opportunity I had access to through the windows, and still do.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Bonny Leibowitz answers

Thanks to colleague and friend  Bonny Leibowitz for taking the time to answer some questions. I enjoyed looking at not only her work but her influences and  linking to the suggestions for  art podcasts.

Pending Situations installation at The Neon Heater Gallery 2017

installation at Painting in a Post Factual World. Bushwick, NY 2017

What inspires you, your work, makes the hair on your neck go up?

Philosophically, I’ve been inspired by the examination of perceptions. I’m interested in how thoughts are manufactured; why some “stick” and make up a sense of identity while others drift away; what we choose to attach to. I like to engage in work that questions a sense of permanence and solidity and expresses alternatives both conceptually and materially.

My current body of work utilizes a variety of materials including a polyfoam substrate I am able to manipulate by dyeing and sewing, a vinyl sewn with mulberry bark, and shaped works on paper utilizing wax and ink often hanging freeform by clips and wires from the ceiling. Combined, the pieces can play off one another as quite fluid and transparent or dense and weighty. These concepts have always been a part of my questioning life but as of late, I’ve been taking a deeper dive into the philosophies and writings of some truly engaging practitioners exploring the subjects of behavioral science, consciousness and cognition.

My favorite moments in the studio happen when experimentation leads to some ah-ha breakthrough. Recently, while cutting up some of my works on paper to collage, for instance, I was intrigued by the folding and bending which occurred naturally in the pile. Those cuts, weaving in and out of one another became the impetus for my next piece moving forward. Moments like these can often spring up while away from the studio as well, as if they are sitting in there, dormant, waiting to be birthed … and that’s a thrill. I love then, going back into the studio to flush out the vision and see where it takes me next.

Bonny Leibowitz_A Long Heavy Wave
48" x 28"
ink,  on Masa paper mounted in acrylic sheet

I’m also inspired by the physicality of materials and processes relating to the concepts in a given body of work. I love working in a big painterly way best but often turn to slower more meditative processes like sewing which require an incredible amount of time. The “speed” of the making can often be evidenced in the finished work.

This Is A Mountain This Is Not A Mountain
48" x 28"
ink, yupo, wax, pigment, Masa paper hanging by clips and filament wire

Bonny Leibowitz_Water Descending A Mountainside
73" x 51" 
wax, pigment and ink on Masa paper

Bonny Leibowitz_The Unraveling
42" x 58" x 12"
dyed, semi-rigid polyfoam

What is your personal history? Creatives in your ancestry that might have influenced you?
It’s all true; my first loves were DaVinci, Michelangelo and Peter Paul Rubens. I still love a beautiful line, an exquisite sense of light and a masterful sense of depth. Those qualities can be part of abstraction as well of course, and I believe they’ve been a part of my soul since, well, forever. Later, I began to connect with Picasso then Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell. I love the big gutsy action to this day. I must add Rauschenberg as well. It’s interesting how early influences become part of our nature and never seem to leave.

Name 5 favorite artists that turn you on and why?
Chaim Soutine, Vernon Fisher, Anselm Kiefer, Philip Guston, Isa Genzken , on and on…..the list of artists that turn me on is endless, completely fluid and nonlinear. There are so many artists throughout history and contemporaries alike, doing great work. I am going to choose a few to highlight however just so your blog won’t go on forever…ha. It’s important, for me, to always be looking, whether that’s online, going to openings or doing studio visits. There are always great takeaways and bonds to be made. Here are a few artists I’ll mention:

James Sullivan
Several years ago an exhibition of his work at Conduit Gallery in Dallas made a big impact on me. I had just then, been turning a corner in my own work introducing 3-d forms and wondering how I was going to let the 2-d and 3-d works communicate / relate. Going to see James’s installation was incredibly eye opening, freeing. He’d created an environment with objects that spoke to the narrative and invited the viewer into a personal world that somehow felt universal at the same time. Of course there were connections with each piece in the show but ultimately, the entire exhibition was “the piece” and that has become increasingly clear for me as a concept. I came away feeling not only that I had “permission” to think bigger but that I also saw a way to tap into conceptual object making in a much broader way.

Charline von Heyl
I chose Charline von Heyl because the work is so striking. I discovered her work at an exhibition at the ICA Boston after missing a ferry and was never so happy to be delayed!

Cecily Brown
I chose Cecily Brown because she breaks up the figure and nature so thoroughly, that I can see the world as particles and energy and yet it’s all about paint. I like the concept of removing “thing-ness” and perceiving a continuum.

Arlene Shechet
I chose Arlene Shechet because the tactile quality of her work is so visually satisfying and the works in relationship are so fully engaging.

Ruth Root
I chose Ruth Root because she so dramatically energizes the formal qualities of art in a way that would be very difficult for me to do. I love the clear concise insistence on the work being what it is and I revel in that clarity.

Anna Hepler
I chose Anna Hepler for her smart use of materials and consideration for space, relationship and thoughtful installations.

Diana Al Hadid
I chose Diana Al Hadid for her over the top amazing way that seeing a work of hers can grab my heart. I first saw her work at The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. The piece filled the room and you had to practically walk sideways to edge around without touching the piece. The scale, creamy tones and almost sickly drips of melting humanity were breathtaking.

Painting from India's Rajput Courts
I fell in love with the color use of works in The Divine Pleasures: Painting from India's Rajput Courts—The Kronos Collections at the Met and had to get the book. The luminous quality and unexpected color combinations are mouthwatering. I have always loved small works packed with information and these so satisfy the bill.

What’s on your podcast list?

Here are some of my faves:

What thoughts do you have to turn off in your head when you are in the studio?

Sometimes the brain gets stuck a bit too long in “what if” mode. That’s when I have to say to myself “just move”!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Peter Roux answers:

I saw Peter Roux's work in June at the Lyons Wier Gallery, in NY. I was struck by the painterly use of both abstraction and representational imagery and his use of the edge to create depth, compression and expansiveness in the work.

Suspension (east sky) II   2015   oil, charcoal on panel   42x42"

Suspension (farm field) I   2016   oil on canvas with charcoal 30x40"

Suspension (take 6)  2017   oil, charcoal on panel   36"x48"

The Way Light Falls (on things you cherish) no.1   2012   oil, charcoal on paper   30x12"    


Inspiration is such an elusive thing to define for me. I'm energized to make work based on many sources and experiences, most of which don't connect to each other whatsoever or fall into linked categories.
The natural world certainly inspires me- whether it be in sky, ground, or detail. I tend to think less in terms of a direct response to a place- that I want to paint that view- and more in the ways and means of the experience. I find myself paying attention to how I respond and the experience of seeing, and that seems to be what drives my work. Translating this into visual information in a piece crosses over representational and abstract platforms for me...which I like. 

I'm drawn a bit to contradiction as well, and rebellion. Those inspire me in odd ways. I don't think you see it directly in my work, but it affects me.

Edges inspire me too. If art is all about relationships (forms against space, points in time pressed together, color and value related to create new meaning) then the meat of it for me is in the edges of things, where they meet/blend/relate. I like them hard, soft, elusive, dramatic, quietly shifting, whatever. I can look at a glass on a countertop and get lost in the parts where the glass meets the space surrounding speak nothing of the universe of values and form working within the glass surface. It's endless for me. It's not just about form's where content lies. It always speaks about much more than the subject itself. 

And, of course, seeing good work made by others just makes my brain and heart buzz. I see things, have an experience with them, become slightly changed by the encounter, and feel a direct need to make new work. As a painter I tend to be most drawn to work in mediums that aren't paint. I know paint, and sometimes knowing the structures used can be slightly distracting when looking at artwork. So, I get pulled to the alchemy of things made by processes I don't normally use. And, in a weird organic response, it makes me want to paint.

Suspension (take 6)   2017   oil, charcoal on panel   36x48"

What is your personal history? Creatives in your ancestry that might have influenced you?

I've been drawing and painting since I was very young, and have always wanted to be an artist of some kind save for two or three childhood detours (astronaut, sheriff, rock star). Art school was always the goal, and it ultimately just came down to what kind of art I wanted to make, and how.

My mother in particular was instrumental in supporting me in that drive. She was a creative soul who played the piano beautifully and, later in life, had a short but successful career as a weaver. Beyond that, there's very little in my family background that I draw upon for influence. Quite the opposite, in fact: most of it is rooted in blue collar work histories. Art was appreciated and valued by a few, but the opportunities to even know it existed in life were almost non-existent for them. It's almost like I was born with a virus or something.

The Way Light Falls (on things you cherish) no.1   2012   oil, charcoal on paper   30x12"    

 Suspension (Iceland) IV   2015   oil on connected panels   60x36"

Name 5 favorite artists that turn you on..and why

Five artists who turn me on....that's a tough one. Different artists circle in and out of the category at different times. But if I had to list a few:

Vermeer: he's so often referred to as a painter's painter, and for good reason. He created intimate worlds of quiet light, where narrative is in every object but it's never shouted. Time stops in his images, and it stops for me when I look at them. 

Gerhard Richter: you just can't pin this artist down, and I like that. His work always explores, in some fashion, what art is. Richter moves from pure abstraction to photo realism just by jumping when he's ready without apology, yet they connect. Then, he fills in the spaces between the two with yet more works. Painting, sculpture, glass, installation, etc. Even the works I dislike, I like. Weird.

Brian Eno: I'm not very interested in anything Eno records with lyrics. Rather, I like his ambient compositions, the sound installations that experiment with hearing within defines spaces, and above all his writings about art. Eno has talked about no longer seeing artworks as objects but rather as triggers for experience. That pretty much makes sense to me. And, he works in a time-derivative medium, for which I'm just slightly envious.

Rickie Lee Jones: If you want to feel what it's like to have your soul simultaneously uplifted and stepped on, listen to this artist. She's a raw nerve.

I'm going beyond five...

Agnes Martin: for me her works are like visual prayer. And I never pray, so that's saying something.

Sally Mann, Chuck Close (not exactly sure why), Willem DeKooning, Brice Marden, Christopher Wool, Richard Serra, Cecily Brown (at times), Wim Wenders, Stan Brackhage, Ridley Scott because he has made the future look gritty but probable and loves sun spots in his films (Blade Runner is amazing to look at), Jane Campion, e.e. cummings (gotta put it it lower case with that guy), any musician who makes music that transcends the instruments they play.

Mostly, though, I get turned on by the work of people I know or know of, who are making really great art but maybe aren't getting the press and exposure the super art stars of the world get. These are people who are making it happen somehow. I'll throw some names out in case people want to take a look: Amy Tavern, Liz Tran, Sean Thomas, Karen Philippi, Amy Spassov, Erik Hall, Stephanie Dalton, Laura Fayer, Jennifer J.L. Jones, James Austin Murray, Mark Zimmerman, Milisa Galazzi, Bernd Haussman. So many more as well. Google 'em.

Studio shot

What do you see outside your studio window (picture) and inside your studio at the moment?

Lots of trees outside my window. I live in the woods...sort of. Inside the studio it's curated chaos I guess. Multiple pieces going at once, shelves of disorganized supplies, oily painted rags. And occasionally a three-legged dog.

What do you listen to in the studio?

When I'm actively painting, I tend to put on music that won't distract me but instead filter into my head from the side somehow. Everything from Bach to hardcore punk, so it varies based on my mood. Lots of blues, new and old. When I'm stretching canvas or packing paintings or doing things other than painting, I tend to listen to NPR or interviews with interesting people, or just the news.

What’s on your bookshelf or podcast list? picture or list

I'll list some.
I really like the Savvy Painter podcasts a lot. In terms of books, lots of history books (especially 20th century stuff), and I'm a sucker for big monographs and expensive art books and catalogs. If I go see gallery shows and love the work but can't afford to buy- which is most of the time- I'll get a catalog if it's available. So, lots of those. They remind me of the work I saw, and its a way to bring it home and live with it. 

Oh, and Sophie's Choice because it has one of the best last lines of any novel.

What thoughts do you have to turn off in your head when you are in the studio?

Any thoughts about people. If I'm worried about someone, or in conflict, or just thinking about someone a lot it tends to be a barrier to working. I can eventually get beyond it and shut it out, but it can take awhile. I'm not sure how I feel about this, either.

I have doubting thoughts about the work I'm doing at times, like any artist. It's part of the process. It's not about trying to eliminate these thoughts but rather learning to manage them, because they're inevitable if you're trying to do something that matters to you. I've tried to figure out ways to manage them as best as I can, including trusting the idea that they'll go away. But they can get to me sometimes.

Best advice you have gotten about making/being an artist?

The best advice has generally been about just doing work. Pull energy out of thinking about being an artist and what it looks or feels like to be one, and just make make some art. Chuck Close is famous for staying that inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get up in the morning and work. That's a bit heavy-handed, but I get it. I think you become an artist by making art. What an artist looks like is irrelevant. If you're making art, then the answer to what an artist looks and feels like is in the mirror. Let everyone else sort it out.

That, and trust yourself. This is the toughest one, as you're sometimes doing it without any external reinforcement. But another artist once told me that if you create something that matters to you, it's inevitable that it will also matter to someone else, somewhere...and you need to trust that. I think this is a logical extension to the idea that the act of creating means you're putting something (even small) into the world that didn't exist before. So, you alter the world just a little. Just trust that this occurs and that in some way it's important.

Also, that beauty isn't a bad word. This idea in contemporary art that beauty is too simple and trite as content is ridiculous to me. All that happens when artists make work that is intentionally ugly or anti-beauty in order to push things is that they're ultimately redefining beauty. It still hits us in the same place. We need more beauty in the world, whatever it looks like. Especially now.

Some see being an artist as self-indulgent. By that measure simply living in the world is self-indulgent. Creating work places me in the world somehow, and calms me down. That's not self-indulgence, it's survival. And, hopefully, the process leaves something in its wake that's bigger than any one individual.