Garden . 24x48 inches . 2010

1. natural lighting
2. artificial (interior) lighting
3. combined uv and interior lighting
4. uv lighting only
5. no light (glow in the dark)

Ingredients: acrylic, sand, glass beads, phosphorescent pigments, varnish, water & light on canvas.

An exercise in subtlety. Actually this was one of the most technically complicated paintings I've ever made. First it started with an idea. "You know what would be rad? A Japanese garden. In painting form."

Okay maybe it even sounded complicated at the time, but somehow I determined that I should do it. Even better, I actually used the technique on two paintings at the same time, the other of which I will show you soon. (That one's for my show.)

I'm an ideas person at heart. I know this because I'm often one to say, "I have an idea!" I'm talking Lucille Ball style here. I'm further used to watching a varied number of people brace themselves for hearing whatever my idea is, despite the fact that they sincerely want to support it and help me make my visions a reality. It's produced some of the most profound experiences of my life.

It's also been a lot of work. (Especially for those who have helped me. I generally work alone now, but years ago my "ideas" were implemented on grand scales for large art projects and community events that required significant amounts of money, time, team effort, and faith. I'll never tire of thanking Colin, Becky, Carla, Jyro, Chuck, Craig, and all our extra helpers during those years. It was a beautiful time.)

Anyway, back to this painting. I had no plan when I started. I had no concept about how one would even go about accomplishing this. I just drew my idea on canvas and started with what I thought "might" work. It took three and a half months of labor every single day. It was hard. At various points I thought I might have to scrap the whole thing. It's so heavy I could hardly lift it onto the wall at Gen Kai.

Gen Kai! Speaking of which, this is the newest installation and part of an ongoing series of work I'm creating for them. :)

I wanted to both recreate the look and feel of a real Japanese Dry Garden while also infusing the painting with my own personal touches that reflect my style. From far away it looks like a traditional dry garden and close up you're able to see subtle variances in color shine through the sand.

Stop by in person to see my growing collection at this incredible restaurant. Gen Kai has been around since 1983, and even suffered a fire last year that destroyed much of the restaurant. They rebuilt and are back better than ever. I'm honored to be a part of their ongoing history.

Gen Kai Japanese Restaurant
34143 Pacific Coast Hwy 
Dana PointCA 92629 
(949) 240-2004

A moment of Zen

... is something I'm seeking out more frequently lately.

It's true that I work great under pressure. I've always been that way. I may not have liked school very much, but dammit I spent a good 3 days throwing that science project together in 5th grade that came in 1st place at the school's science fair.

This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if I didn't stress out like a nutcase in the time before I decide I ought to get started working on things. I like to take my time to really feel out how risky and dangerous my procrastination is before I'm inevitably struck with the realization that if I don't get moving and keep moving from now until the end, I'll fail. Simple as that. Fear of failure can be very motivating.

I just wish I thought of these things while I still had ample time to finish, so that I could be stress-free AND successful! Alas. Maybe one day.

In the meantime, I've waited just long enough that I'll be spending the next 4 months panicking and working 12 hours a day in order to fulfill my commitments. Also those pesky holidays that I swear seem to happen every single year. Oh, and I'm basically a hospice nurse to my dog right now, which ultimately is one of the most rewarding and depressing things I've ever done in my life. I hate watching him deteriorate, but I'm eternally grateful that I'm able to be here with him and care for him until he decides that he's had enough care and wants to move on to... something else.

Anyway, before I make us all start crying first thing on a Monday afternoon, here's a peek at some new paintings I'm working on:

One is for Gen Kai Japanese Restaurant in Dana Point, and one is for my upcoming show. Both have taken far longer than I anticipated. I'm always trying out new techniques when I don't have time to practice them. Keeps things entertaining for me, I guess. :)

I've started 2 more in addition to these, both for my show. Should be an exciting few months ahead, culminating with my show, and then 5 days later, a trip to Japan.

Maybe I'll find some inner Zen there. Or maybe I'll just run around like a crazy person trying to see, eat, and explore my way through everything I can find. I mean, seriously. It's JAPAN. :oO

The Making Of an Art Show

It's strange to test limits. Not everyone is willing to. People like to play it safe. People like to stick with what works, long past when it's stopped working. I don't want to be one of those people anymore.

No risk, no reward, right?

I've been inspired over the last couple of years. So many artists are finally embracing the future of art and recognizing that we shape our own careers. There isn't going to be some hierarchy of Art Kings to tell us what we should enjoy anymore. Let artists speak for themselves.

The whole point of making art is to show people. So I am. On March 26th, 2011.

This studio space, traditionally used for actors, directors, and performances, will be home to my art for one spectacular night. I love that it's a theater space, on Theater Row in Hollywood. My two greatest artistic passions, acting and painting, seem fused together in this one room.

We're doing all the work ourselves. Fortunately, we have a bit of experience doing this. I spent three years as Creative Director for a local group that put on weekly, monthly, and seasonal artistic events, including large-scale art installations and art festivals.

Yet, despite that, the plans for this show seem daunting. The amount of artwork I'm going to produce is rivaled only by the amount of legwork it's going to take to put on such an event. I know it will be a lot of work, and the entire experience will be terrific education. We're strapped in and ready to go.

As far as actually transforming a theater space into an art show, I'll keep you posted. In fact, I thought it might be fun to document the process on my blog. One of the aspects of event throwing that I distinctly remember is treating each project as a group effort. I want you to come along for the ride with me, and celebrate our success the night of the show.

[For instance, anyone know where to rent easels in Los Angeles? We're not going to be able to hang anything on the walls. So far we're looking into easels and long/low tables.]

Another way you can contribute would be to make a donation to help me cover costs of putting on this show. I promise you that every last cent will be used to produce the show itself.

I'll even send you a thank you card! :D

Or, even better, purchase one of the few Original Paintings I have left, or any of my various 8x10 or 11x14 inch metallic prints. Your support makes my ability to do art possible. I truly value all of you and your interest in my work. Even just your words of encouragement mean the world to me. I always think of my art as "our" art. I just handle the day-to-day dirty work of making each piece. The process and result is something you and I get to experience together. :)

If you're not already on it, Welcome to the Journey. Nice to have you here.

Stardom . 48x30 inches . 2010

1. natural lighting
2. artificial (interior) lighting
3. combined uv and interior lighting
4. uv lighting only
5. no light (glow in the dark)

Ingredients: acrylic, sand, candle wax, a little red wine, crushed glass, phosphorescent pigments, varnish, water & light on canvas. 

 Ahh, purple. Thus begins my love affair with purple.

This truly looks nothing like my original sketch for it, and I'm okay with that. My sketches are usually just jumping off points, from which I create something that inevitably dives into chaos and unpredictability. I like to "guide" my paintings into whatever they're going to be, but I allow the process to play itself out. In many ways, I'm just along for the ride.

I didn't specifically intend for it to be so emotional. It just happened. I'm not quite sure if there's an emotional space in my mind trying to break free or if it's merely a happy accident. I knew it while painting though. Part of me was afraid to let you see it. I wasn't sure what you would think. I wasn't sure what I was saying with it.

Truthfully, it doesn't matter what I was thinking, because once the art is finished it's not up to me how people feel about it. I just make them. I'm working through it as I go. I try to be present and intuitive while working, but the creation itself is my expression. The rest is up to you.

What do you think this painting is about?

Some close ups:

This is the first of many pieces I'm creating for a solo show I'll be having in Hollywood, California on March 26th, 2011. I'll be giving more information about that over the next few months. I hope you can make it. It's going to be incredible. I'm very nervous and very excited. 

If you're interested in acquiring this painting before or after the show, please email me and we'll discuss specifics. :) *UPDATE: This painting is now sold.*

Photo Field Trip - San Juan Capistrano

Spent the afternoon in San Juan Capistrano a few weeks ago. There was a lot to that town I didn't even know existed. Like a petting zoo?! And a bunch of tiny little cafes in old converted shacks (or at least that's what they looked like.) And trains, of course. Lots of trains.

Chelsea and I wanted a little time to practice our photography. Aside from the little old lady yelling at us for trespassing, it was an awesome day.

Tip: Apparently Ruby's Diner in SJC now has a full bar on the patio and offers a Mexican food menu. It also overlooks most of the city and gives you a great view of the Mission. Although I'm not a huge Ruby's fan, I certainly didn't mind that atmosphere, and I'd love to go back one day for a Margarita and some time kicking it on the patio. :o)

Sun Splatter

My husband wanted to do a little photo shoot a few weeks ago when the sunlight was still warm and bright, and fortunately I'm always a willing participant. I was wearing a hat that made pretty crazy sun splatter patterns on my skin.

Truthfully, I've been loving all this rain we've had in California lately. Normally October is a month of dryness and despair for me (I hate dryness) but this year I've enjoyed basking in the wonderful, cool humidity. My plants are happier too.

The only downside is, I can't wear my giant sun hats outside without looking a bit freakish. Oh well. Maybe everyone will think I'm being Summer for Halloween. ;o)

The Twitter Effect

So a tweet I made last week apparently went viral on Sunday, and along with 600+ new followers and thousands of comments, an artist made an illustration about it! Aaahh!

How awesome is that? The artist's name is Kiersten Essenpreis.

Art, from a tweet. Fascinating.

It was posted on The Next Web, as well as Gizmodo. (where so far it's been viewed over 100,000 times.)

Also, my face was on MSNBC.

Regarding what I actually said, I should clarify that it was an off-handed comment meant to be taken casually, and I'm not saying that I specifically hate anyone. Not you, anyway. It was more based out of a general feeling I have regarding the two and how each performs their social networking duties.

(Although I could do without hearing of your lady troubles; your medical issues; your vitriolic hate filled rants that promote political dishonesty, fear mongering, and inequality; your self-congratulatory emo angst; and you and your friends' occasional incoherent ramblings.)

Naw bro. Naw. Dude bro, naw. Naw dude. Bro. Naw.

In retrospect, had I known this little tweet was going to spread across the masses like wildfire, perhaps I wouldn't have used "hate," but rather "really annoyed at." Perhaps. It was merely the most concise way to describe my feeling at the time I wrote it. I certainly couldn't fit this lengthy blog into 140 characters.

To be fair, I'm sure the same issues occur on Twitter, depending on how you use it. For me, Twitter provides connection to other artists around the world. I actually enjoy reading about what mundane activities artists are doing during their day, because I'm doing the same things. It's kind of like a virtual office, which is pretty huge for most of us independent artists who work alone at home all day. It's not all mundane either, in fact I've learned of many incredible opportunities through Twitter. The link sharing qualities alone have literally advanced my career. And it's not just artists. It's fans, collectors, galleries, museums, scientists, business experts, entrepreneurs, and other talented, motivated people that I enjoy learning from.

I've never once heard a person who doesn't use Twitter describe it in a way that remotely resembles my actual interaction with it. Twitter gets labeled "narcissistic" a lot, though I generally hear that from Facebookers who update their Facebook statuses with nonsense 25 times a day. Ironic.

Hell, I get the news on Twitter almost immediately as it happens. So that's cool too. In some ways, Twitter is like a subscription service to the world, tailored to you in any way that you make it. If you follow trainwreck celebrities and boring people, that's what Twitter will give you. I like to read Twitter almost as a daily newspaper, giving me headlines of whatever aspect of society I've plugged into. Pro tip: Skimming is easy! You don't actually have to read every word written in your feed all day.

Twitter is really more about reading and hearing from others than posting boring, personal observations in a vacuum. If you're just shouting thoughts into the ether and expecting something to happen, it won't. I read Twitter far more than I write on Twitter. In any case, it's about sharing with others.

On the flip side, I don't get to see pictures of my little cousins whom I never see in real life on Twitter. I also really value the interaction I get with my close personal friends on Facebook. It helps me feel involved, even though I might be too busy to hang out every Saturday night at someone's house. And hey, I'm not opposed to uploading a hundred pictures at a time of my recent travels into albums on Facebook either. In that way, I appreciate having both. Truly.

But art is more than just my career. It's my life. I spend far more time thinking artsy thoughts, and stoking my budding entrepreneurialism than I do socializing with friends. At the end of the day, Twitter facilitates a wider audience for my work, as well as a broader spectrum of conversation with thousands of people I would never have met on Facebook. That can't be beat. I'm incredibly grateful for what Twitter has provided me.


Ferris Bueller Performance Art

Lord Voldemort

Roger Ebert

The Big Ben Clock

Food Trucks 

Breaking News

I'm just saying.

Ten Little Facts - An introduction

[Well, since I've gained over 500 (and counting) new followers since Sunday on Twitter, I thought I should properly introduce myself.]

Hello new people! Nice to meet you. I'm an artist, you probably figured that out by now. I do this full time. Crazy, right? My art is Light Reactive, which means it changes colors all day, reacts to different lighting, and then glows in the dark. GLOWS IN THE FREAKING DARK! 

The quick version of me:

1. I live in Orange County, California, but I want to live in Hawaii. So instead, I travel to Hawaii more than I should. I'm going to Japan next Spring though. Because why not.

2. I'm 30.

3. I'm married to Walking Awesomeness. That's his official name, but most people refer to him as "Colin." He's also on Twitter. He's a graphic designer. He writes games too. And he makes Sad Robots and Fat Ninjas. Now you know.

4. I used to be an actor. Sometimes I still am. And by "acting" I mean "auditioning, driving to LA, and occasionally snagging a speaking part in a low budget independent movie that you'll never see."

5. I'm sort of obsessed with pop-science, cosmology, geophysics, and planetary disasters. I watch The Science Channel a lot.

6. I can beat you at Air Hockey.

7. The best advice I've ever received regarding my art was "Don't make it good." A mentor taught me that.

8. My only tattoo is of the coordinates N19º 58' 51" W155º 49' 45", which is written on my forearm, facing me, because I'm the one who's supposed to read it. It's my direction in life.

9. I've been eating sushi happily since I was 5, and now my art is on permanent installation at my favorite sushi restaurant.

10. So far, Enlightenment is my favorite painting I've ever made. This might change soon, because I'm really excited about my new collection.

That's it for now, we'll do 10 more factoids soon. In the meantime, comment, @reply, say hi, let me know who you are. I generally only follow people back if they reach out and talk to me!

And follow my blog for updates on me, my life, my art, and upcoming shows. :o)

Again, very nice to meet you all.


[taken on my patio earlier today]

It's here. I admit this now. There are pumpkins everywhere.

Have you seen those fairytale pumpkins? Have these been widely available for awhile now and I just don't pay attention to pumpkin trends anymore? They're rad. Along with other, gorgeous, non-jack-o-lantern type pumpkins I've been seeing out there. Seems like a shift back toward heirloom style, traditional pumpkins. Good job, pumpkineers.

So after that weird week and a half of 115 degree coastal Southern California weather (the hell?) it has rapidly progressed into a dark, gray, chilly October. Chilly like I want to wear slippers and make pumpkin soup kind of chilly.

Speaking of which, there's a new loaf of banana bread in the oven right now.

We spent the day Autumn-Cleaning. Kind of like Spring-Cleaning, but there are pumpkins everywhere outside. It was strange and wonderful taking breaks on the patio, standing in the drizzle, observing the new season. We have a nice little habanero plant outside. There are at least 10 orange peppers hanging from it.

They look exactly like pumpkin ornaments.

The Big Island Chronicles - Sunsets

And you thought I was done with Hawaii photos... ha.

[Actually due to a computer malfunction when we got back in February, I couldn't upload some of the best photos we have. Now that everything is squared away (and I've remembered I wanted to get back to this at some point) I can show you some of the real gems from our latest trip.]


It's hard to take a bad picture in Hawaii, to be sure.

Free and clear

Someone recently asked me if clear was a color. I don't know, is it? I think of gloss and reflection as a color, I suppose. So yes. Maybe. 

Depends on its intention.

I'm processing a lot of thoughts lately. Every time I resolve to write more, I don't. Every time I resolve to do more yoga, I don't. I don't like being told what to do, even by myself. Sometimes this leaves me frozen in time, confused, not making choices. A mentality that does wonders for being self-employed, I can assure you.

I know everything is a choice, and I hate when people gripe about their circumstances as though everything in life happened to them, like they had no choice in the matter. I hate when I find myself whining. I hate when I find myself whining about other people whining.

One foot in front of the other. 

They say.

I don't know if I've ever had this much going on before in my life. Commissions that I can't fit in. A huge solo show next Spring that I'm preparing for. (I promise I'll tell you about that soon. Any second now. Almost.) A new collection to complete before then. International travel to plan. An ailing doggie that requires a lot of care. Passports to apply for. Christmas balls to make. Christmas. 

Actually, erase that Christmas thing from your mind. The thought of it makes me queasy. It's still June, right? RIGHT??

There's this purple painting I'm making right now that I kind of love. It's almost done. The first official painting I've completed for that show I'm having in Spring that I haven't told you about yet. It's purple and crazy and heavy (I can barely lift it) and did I mention purple? Ideally I'll have it finished by the end of next week.

Two more huge paintings lie on the floor where they wait for supplies to be delivered so I can keep working on them. Eight canvases are stacked against the wall, waiting to have purpose. More canvas needs to be ordered.

I'll sleep when I get back from Japan in April.

Until then, here we go.

Fire Bad; Tree Pretty

Buffy: "I haven't processed everything yet. My brain isn't really functioning on the higher levels. It's pretty much: fire bad; tree pretty." 

I think I'm approaching show recovery. I'm getting better at it, I have a system down now. Sometimes shows are casual enough that I don't need recovery. Others are incredibly busier than I planned for.

The day after a busy show is spent in a haze. Reflecting, discussing, ruminating. Comparing notes. Scheming for the future. Organizing a million different next-steps that came about because of the show. A lot of it is spent too exhausted to think about any of these things. Find food. Sit. Eat. Sit.

Two days after a show, usually a Monday, it's time to regroup and reorganize my studio from the chaos it was left in during "show week." Paint bottles, jars, brushes, plastic sheets everywhere. The camera and tripod set up and abandoned in the middle of the room. Empty boxes strewn about that I was too busy to throw away after supplies were delivered the week before. Drawers left open.

Also, I'm a clean freak, so facing this on Monday morning is traumatic. I wouldn't be able to focus on anything if I didn't "restart" with a clean house and studio anyway. So, I spend Monday cleaning and reorganizing. I always start with a spotless kitchen, because I have a thing about spotless kitchens, and it makes me happy. I get anxious and uncomfortable if my kitchen is messy. We have a belief that all home organization "starts with the dishes." It's step #1. If the dishes aren't clean and put away, you're screwed. It's all downhill from there.

That's what works for us, anyway.

And these are my "days off." Exhaustion and frantic reorganization. I don't remember when I last had a leisurely, rejuvenating day off. 2 weeks ago? I'm not sure. I don't remember. I'm careful to never complain about that though. I loooove my job. Making art for a living is exhilarating and wonderful, even when it's stressful, emotional, exhausting, and never-ending. I feel fortunate. Blessed, even.

I remember when I was 18 and working inside Star Tours (the ride) for 38 hours a week (not quite 40 because then Disneyland would be forced to give you benefits) and having the freaking Star Wars theme song trapped in my head and my retinas burned electric blue from the lights. Everything looked blue. Milk was blue. I dreamed in blue.


I remember being 21 and smelling like Chinese food 24 hours a day, everyday, because that's where I worked, both as hostess and delivery driver. I only ate Chinese food, because I got one meal a day free and sometimes they'd hand over the "mistake" orders to employees who wanted them. Since we couldn't really afford luxuries like "food" back then, that's what we ate. Every. Single. Day.

I still can't eat Chinese food without feeling nauseous.

I remember first delivering flowers for a flower shop and then being moved into the floral design department, where I did get to use my creativity, but it was hard work, and I generally spent my days covered in (sometimes rotten and smelly) flower parts. Hours each week spent shucking roses. So many freaking roses. But, I really enjoyed my years at the flower shop. I loved being around all the colors, and experiencing the changing of seasons based on what flowers we'd keep in stock. Another designer there was also an artist, and she encouraged me a lot. Eventually I got to design the window displays, my favorite of which was a Harry Potter themed fandango for Halloween. School books, jars of herbs and glowing potions (blacklights were put to great use), owls and feathers, etc. It was a big hit with everyone.

I quit the flower shop because I was offered a job doing more "professional" work for a successful and semi-famous wedding photojournalist, who hired me because he was looking for a "cute girl to receive people and answer the phones." (And do all the Photoshop work.) It was more money than I made shucking roses, and I got to wear cute outfits and heels all the time, which I was thrilled about until I found myself having to lug gigantic wrought iron easels downstairs and to his car for him while he walked next to me carrying his Louis Vuitton man-purse. He also gave me daily assignments through the door while he was peeing, and spent more money on crocodile-skin shoes than I spent on rent.

This situation quickly deteriorated for me. Admittedly, I learned a lot from him about how to operate your own business as an independent artist, how to interact with clients, how to brand yourself and your business, and that it was okay to shoot for ridiculously high dreams. I'm incredibly grateful for this knowledge, and one day if I get over the pee thing, I might tell him so.

By this point, I'd managed to work my art career into a place that people wouldn't laugh at me if I threw caution to the wind and quit my regular day job to focus on art. It was a huge risk.

Refusal to go back to any of those jobs is what motivates me, even today. I haven't looked back. This is the best I've been at any job, even though I'm still learning what the heck it is I'm doing. It's truly amazing, and I love the opportunity. I work hard. I have freedom. I wake up each day with the purpose of expressing myself to others, to the world. I finally feel like I'm contributing something important.

My next goal is to learn more about myself, and why it is I do what I do. Why I am the way I am. Ideally, I'll learn better how to come out of my shell more and share these things with you.

One of the things I've learned is that being an artist isn't just a full-time job. It's a lifestyle. I'm never not an artist, and therefore never not working. I just distribute my hours differently than most people. If I wanted to, I could do nothing for a week, and believe me, sometimes that happens. If I'm sick, I don't have anyone to answer to. The flipside is, it all falls on me. If I'm not working, it only hinders my life. There is no one but me to kick my ass into gear and get going. There's no one but me to take the blame, and no one but me to determine my future. I am free to fail and free to succeed. I have no limitations on what I can accomplish.

I absolutely love that.