New Project, Patterns

Sunday, December 30, 2007

After I got the vinyl fabric to make a covering for the ruck frame, I decided it wasn't quite right. Since it was a remnant piece I got on clearance and there wasn't any more like it in the store, I went on-line and found something I liked better and ordered it. Should be here by Tuesday. I went ahead and "carved out" the pattern, although I'll admit that I'm hardly a good seamstress. First I drew out a rough sketch onto paper and started cutting it and forming it at the same time. When I got something semi suitable I drew the pattern out on a piece of the vinyl I had. Using staples, I was able to put the whole thing together without sewing. This will act as the template for the final piece. I will also end up covering the kidney pack and the straps...I think (I'm still toying with another idea). Anyway, all of the seams will lay smoother in the end when they've been sewn (not stapled). The hinges will be attached to a board underneath and will stick out from slits on the sides and then the wings will be attached to the hinges. I will hide the hinge with a second and third layer of wings. On another note, I finally hitched my star to the Netflix wagon and I'm eagerly awaiting some documentaries. However, I'm a bit leery of the seductive powers of TV.

Service with a Smile

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The bulk of my day has been spent doing two things: 1. Filling out the necessary paperwork for a damage claim with DHL (see the DHL Debacle blog for more info on that) and (ironically) 2. Packaging up five paintings to be shipped with DHL.
Anyway, this new exhibition that my work will be in came at a bit of a surprise. I got an email from the Assistant Director of the Arts Council of Greenwood County, in Greenwood, SC. She said she saw my work on-line, liked it and would like to show some at their gallery in January. I quickly agreed, not taking into consideration the drive to Greenwood (or the shipping costs...keep in mind that I was still pretty hot over the DHL debacle). Greenwood is about a four and a half hour drive. When I explained that I have two solo exhibitions in January and I need to be at both openings, the Assistant Director (Joyce Turner) volunteered to pick them up. Wow! As an emerging artist, this makes me feel pretty good. Luckily, she has family near here so she will be swinging into Fayetteville for the pick up tomorrow morning. As miffed as I am with DHL, I will still need to have my work shipped from the Arts Council when the show is over...of course, there's always that chance that everything will sell. Some of you may recognize the image above from my Christmas card. If not, it's Katie with Wings, a mixed media piece that will be featured in the show at Greenwood.

New Project, Trial and Error

Friday, December 28, 2007

Yesterday and today have been filled with hits and misses in regards to my wings. Over the last several days I have finished the burning process (thank God, because I couldn't stand it any longer). I decided to move on to modifying the ruck sack to mount the wings. Last night at Lowe's I picked out some hinges, two colors of stain, and several sizes of nuts and bolts. This morning I woke up totally excited to plunge into work but was disappointed when I realized that I needed to change my original plan. The hinges I got where the wrong size, the stains I got turned out to be too dark, the bolts I got stood up to high, etc., etc. I had to go back to Lowe's. After picking up the things I needed, I made a stop at the fabric store to check out their stock of leather and vinyls. I found two nice pieces of vinyl in the clearance bin. I'm planning on fashioning a slip-on exterior to hide the look of the metal frame. The vinyls I picked up both look like cracked leather and are soft and thin enough that I'll be able to sew them myself. I just need to choose which of the two to use. Of course, since I had the vinyl I had to make a stop at the craft store to pick up some sturdy leather-craft sewing needles and thread. Once that was over I headed home and was able to make some progress. I tested my stains and they look good. The wood is birch and so the grain varies in tones throughout. I was able to mount the back pad with velcro and cut the board for the back of the ruck. The wings will be mounted to this piece of wood. I was able to drill right through the metal frame.

New Project, Another good find

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Today my husband and I went to Barnes and Noble to look at magazines, etc. As per usual, when we finished our last sips of coffee, I wanted to look around near the dumpsters for bubble wrap or sturdy boxes (for shipping artwork). I didn't find any boxes, but by the hiking/camping store's dumpster there was this cool metal backpack display stand in perfect condition. I immediately thought of it as a display option for my wings (although I have always envisioned them as a wall piece). All the bits are adjustable and detachable. Here is how my "found" ruck sack looks on it...

A "Wonder"ful Christmas

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Skin Deep

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Over A Dozen Local Artists Bare Their Artistic Soul

By: Lauren Hodges
Encore, December 19-25, 2007

Why does nudity ignite such controversy? Even though it is the most natural state for a human, we still become shy, judgmental and even shocked when faced with a body sans clothing. It really is a shame that the human form, in all its glory, is expected to be covered at all times, emerging only to be used for marketing, science or pornography. Why can't we simply appreciate it, as it is, without degrading it, critiquing it or slapping a racing-flag bikini on it?

When it comes to art, however, the nude body can thankfully find solace in a world that respects and admires it as a subject, representing the shapes, colors and movements of human skin. Leslie Pearson, a local painter, finds a particularly raw beauty in the naked form.

"Throughout the history of art, the nude body has served as a standard for learning about ourselves and how we relate to each other," Pearson says. "We all have a body, in one shape or another, and we are all involved in sex, birth, death, and the physical changes that occur with time."

She likes to use the naked body as a metaphor for life and garments as metaphors for the things that inhibit life. "When stripped of everything, we are often left with universal feelings of being exposed, vulnerable, demystified, and wanting acceptance and protection. The nude form is also steeped with various mental, emotional, and spiritual social norms and stigmas. Even though we live in a culture that is overloaded with 'nakedness' and is driven by sex, most people still have feelings of modesty at their own nudity and shame at seeing someone else's nudity in the wrong context."

Pearson displays no shame when using her own body as inspiration for art. She recalls fondly the day she happened upon a subject while simply going about her daily routine.

"One day, as I was getting out of the shower, I noticed that the light from the window was cascading in, causing dramatic shadows to show up on the back of the shower wall. I had a childlike moment and started making shadow puppets with my fingers, and then started striking theatrical poses. I was having so much fun I decided to go get my camera and take a few photos. I chose my three favorite images and translated them into my painting 'Triple Silhouette.'"

"Silhouette" is a trio of oil paintings on stretched canvas, depicting a woman's silhouette dancing in front of a window. Though the colors are dark and brooding, limited only to black, periwinkle gray and dusk-like blue, the canvases glow with movement. The subject itself conveys a playful personality, making jazz hands and striking poses in front of the window. Pearson admits that she had reason behind her color palette.

"I decided to work in all black and white because it adds to the already Noir feeling of the poses," she says, referring to "film noir" of the '40s, associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that was inspired by the German Expressionist era.

Fellow painter Janie Miller chooses to keep her nude subjects a little less personal by keeping their identities blank. Yet somehow, by omitting an identity, Miller manages to make each subject personal to the viewer by leaving interpretation completely open.

"The human figure is a vehicle for emotion, and that is what I concentrate on with my figure paintings," Miller says. "The body contains emotion, contains the mind and shows these emotions through posture, through position." She admits, however, that the intimacy of the human body presents a challenge––and it has nothing to do with shyness.

"The human eye detects inaccuracies instantly," she says, "Each [of the bodies] exist in a space that nearly define the figure rather than allowing the figure to define the area, thus creating a sort of harmony where the only lasting detail is the emotion carried through by the posturing of the figure itself."

This week Miller and Pearson will join a dozen other nude enthusiasts at Bottega Gallery for "Flesh: A Celebration of the Human Form," a nude art exhibition that will include male and female subjects in several mediums. "What I like about the 'Flesh' exhibition is that the nudes are all tastefully done, mostly in the classical style of a life-drawing class," Pearson explains. "It's a celebration of the body as a beautiful creation and an honest approach at attempting to master the human form as a work of art, as well as an effort to capture the human spirit."

Other artists appearing at "Flesh" include Pam Toll, Liz Bender, Ben Billingsley, Frank Capasso, Danielle Couture, Bonnie England, Gail Guthrie, Rachel Kastner, Kee Wilde-Ramsing, Loraine Scalimoni, Rocco Taldin and Gayle Tustin. "Flesh" is currently hanging at Bottega Gallery at 208 North Front Street, downtown. A reception for the artists will be held on December 21st at 7pm. Call (910) 763-3737 for more information.

Notes On A (Potential) Scandal

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The work of 14 artists in the 'Flesh,' a show of nudes that's never controversial but occasionally intriguing

By Isabel Heblich,
Star-News Correspondent

Star-News (Currents), December 20, 2007, Wilmington, NC

With all of the sexless icons dominating this season (angels, Santa, Frosty the Snowman) I previewed Bottega's upcoming show Flesh: A Celebration of the Human Form hoping to spice up this otherwise chaste and virtuous month. I suppose that was the idea behind the artist-owned gallery's holiday timing of this show; a saucy sense of humor not lost on our community. Fed up with fruitcake and tired of "merry this" and "merry that," they must've thought, "You know what would make me merry? A little nudity."

I couldn't agree more.

I walked in expecting a two-dimensional red light district and to spend an afternoon in a blissful, mischievous state of voyeurism, but I've seen sexier crucifixion scenes. The faint of genitalia can breathe a sigh of relief; it's pretty PG-13. Nobody can take the sex out of sexuality like an artist. The figurative works of some 14 artists are, as promised, in the buff, but only a few are provocative. Mostly we see nudity here as a kind of dress.

This phenomenon is best described by John Berger in his book of art theory Ways of Seeing: "To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself."

Many tactics of deflecting an arousing sexuality then spring at me from each painting. Many of the nudes have little facial expression, if faces at all. Many of the limbs taper off before the emotionally revealing institutions of hands and feet. Many of the bodies are painted with cool tones. The shape of each body precedes the weight or volume, but mixed-media textures deter a viewer from hugging those curves for too long.

What's baffling is that many of the figures seem ambivalent about their nudity. I expected something a little more taboo from a word like "flesh," a chance to expose and exploit conventions and ideas about sexuality and its underlying connectedness and reality in our everyday world. I thought the day when you could acknowledge, discuss and debate sexuality from somewhere besides an unattached academic place had arrived.(Maybe it has; the opening is this Friday.)

A clear perspective on nudity, relevant to the natural world, did arise in a few works. Gayle Tustin's large-scale ink and gouache nudes border on portraiture; the brush gestures and limited black, white and sienna palette embody a kind of intelligence that's mirrored by them being painted on architectural papers. The men and women, while not sexual initiators themselves, are vulnerable changelings.

Pam Toll's work in this show should be celebrated for its narratives and psychology, but particularly for her ability to paint men as men. In her nude story scenes there are aggressors. They have a man's muscles and wield a man's power while remaining spiritually penetrable, a trait that reveals the artist as a woman. Toll's mixed media piece Stealing Picasso traces the bent line of a woman's back with the ripped edge of an envelope, complete with stamps, a technique that finds the secret sexuality in everyday objects.

Metal artist Kee Wilde-Ramsing's tiny copper nude man succeeds in its silliness and surprising authority: the dichotomy of the penis. Male Nude is like the torso of a tiny armored knight with his unmentionables on the outside. Wilde-Ramsing gets to the point of the male sexual psyche, doesn't dress it up or disguise it in romanticism or thoughtfulness, just simply says, "Here it is."

A lone photograph from Rocco Taldin approaches the female form with a similar bluntness: the torso of a nude brunette looking un-posed as she sits Indian style with a camera (a camera with erect bullets glued to it) in her lap. A conflicting picture as to what gender has the power here, it seems to poke insider fun at the intrinsic voyeuristic/pornographic nature of photography.

Though not a visual brothel or alarming by any means, Flesh is perhaps a big step for Wilmington in potentially opening the dialogue on flesh or exciting the silent mind that asks, "What is revealed and what is hidden? And why?"

Currents: 343-2343;

DHL Debacle

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today I went to Lexington, NC to pick up a few paintings from an exhibition that just ended. It was a long day and I always get a little anxious when transporting my work for fear of damages that might occur along the way. I was relieved when I finally got home and unpacked the work and saw that everything was ok. Then I noticed that a large crate had been delivered at the front door. I had been expecting the delivery, it was another painting coming back to me from a show in MN. I've never really had any problems when shipping my work (mostly because I build my own wooden crates and treat my paintings like they're my children...or at least a beloved pet). Anyway, I was shocked when I saw the package!

Luckily the painting's canvas surface wasn't damaged. Repairs will have to be made due to the busted stretcher bar. I called DHL and was able to get in touch with someone who seemed to actually care. I'll be waiting for a call tomorrow but I think I'll only make out with about a hundred bucks and the shipping fees canceled.

New Project: Day 8 (Good Find)

Friday, December 14, 2007

It feels great to get a card in the mail on an average day from someone who just wants to let you know they're thinking about you. That's how I felt this morning. I went for a walk in my neighborhood and came on a pile of old suitcases waiting for the trash pick-up. They must have put them out this morning because trash pick-up was yesterday and there usually isn't anything left for curbside dumpster divers such as myself. Anyway, under the pile was a perfectly good ruck-sack. I couldn't believe it!! It was as if God looked down and said, "Here you go, I was just thinking about you and want you to know I think you're special." I know that probably sounds a little dramatic, but finding that ruck was truly an answered prayer.

Ruck with everything on it.

Frame only (with straps and back pad).

As I mentioned in a previous blog (New Project: Day 5), I thought I had found the perfect mounting system for my wings when I found an Army-issued ruck frame up in my attic. Unfortunately, my husband said that he had to return it to the Army when he gets out in February. This setback left me thinking that I'd have to buy one just like it (which I didn't want to do). So today, when I stumbled on that little jewel, I felt like God just winked at me. The ruck, with the pack and everything totals about 45 bucks. I'll probably only use the frame (and I'll modify it quite a bit). For the rest of the day I have guessed it, continuing on with the burning process.

'Tis the Season

Thursday, December 13, 2007

As Christmas rolls around, it's getting pretty tight in the Pearson studio. I have several students who are trying to get their hand-crafted gifts finished in time...including one three-foot, paper mache Frosty the Snowman.

Mixed Bag

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This morning I met with Tom Grubb, the executive director of the Fayetteville Museum of Art, at the John L. Throckmorton Library, where I have had a solo exhibition of landscape paintings hanging since October. I was invited to bring in a selection of new paintings, which will hang until the end of February, 2008. We decided on a grouping of 15 abstract and non-objective pieces from several different series including the Scad series, and the Red, Yellow, Blue series. The exhibition, which is located at the Fort Bragg military instillation, is free and open to the public.


Building 1-3346, Randolph Street
Fort Bragg, NC 28310-5000
Phone: (910) 396-BOOK
Hours: 11am-9pm Monday - Thursday
1-5pm Friday - Sunday
Closed: Federal Holidays

Photo 1: Sewn Squares, Oil paint and hand-sewn fabric on canvas (wall hanging), 49" x 68", 1999
Photo 2: Red, Spray paint, charcoal on paper, 25" x 33", 1999
Photo 3: Yellow, Spray paint, charcoal on paper, 25" x 33", 1999
Photo 4: Blue, Spray paint, charcoal on paper, 25" x 33", 1999

All of these pieces are for sale. Contact me with inquiries at:

New Project: Day 7

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I spent nearly the entire day (Monday) continuing on with the burning process, this time I moved on to one of the large wings. The process is very tedious. By the end of the night I was exhausted from hunching over and my eyes were stinging from all the smoke.

Bottega Gallery, Flesh

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yesterday we dropped off two of my paintings to the Bottega Gallery in Wilmington, NC for an exhibition called Flesh: an exhibition of the human form. This show of male and female nudes, features the work of several North Carolina artists and promises to add a bit of warmth for the winter. The opening reception will be held Friday, December 21st at 7pm. The show begins December 11th and is sure to be an interesting and inspiring exhibition of flesh. The gallery is also a prominent point of action during the 4th Friday Gallery Hop. During the month of December, 4th Friday will be on the 28th. The show will hang for two months so there's plenty of time to check it out.

The two paintings I have in the show are Triple Silhouette (Oil on canvas over panel, 48" x 88", triptych), and Naked Before the Fall (Oil on canvas, 48" x 36"). In the photo below, Bonnie England is going over the exhibition contract with me and another one of the artists.

bottega art & wine
wilmington, nc
info: 910.763.3737
open tues - sat
1pm - 10pm or later

New Project: Day 6

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Today I got off to a bit of a late start, it being Saturday and all. Anyway, my objective was to start burning my wings with a woodburning "pen". Since I'd never tried this before I wanted to practice a little first, and try out the various points that come with it. The box said to "wait until the unit is completely cool before changing out the points. Trust me, they mean what they say. I got impatient and tried to change it out with some pliers. I ended up stripping it and had to go buy a new one. After a trip to my local art supply store, I was able to start on the first wing.

This morning I had visions of finishing all four pieces by dinnertime. What a joke. The process is extremely slow. Not only that, but if you want to change your line style, you have to change out the point...and you have to unplug it, let it cool down "all the way" and then let the new one heat up again. I got one wing done, (the smallest one), and my husband is yapping at me from the kitchen because we're already late for our dinner plans, I'm still in my grubby clothes, and I smell like I've been roasting marshmallows over a campfire.

New Project: Day 5

Friday, December 7, 2007

Today I drew the underside of the wings, which basically look like the outside except for the "armpit" areas. I just left those areas less detailed, especially since that part will be hidden when I mount them.
I also visited several of the many pawn shops and Army supply stores we have here in Fort Bragg country. I was trying to find the right size "frame" to mount the wings on so I can wear them. In the end, I decided to use the basic, Army-issued ruck sack frame that I pulled down from the attic. Although I will have to do some serious modifications, it will work because it's small, light weight, metal, and sturdy.
These are the only things I had time to do today because I am working on something else, namely resizing all of my images and revising my artist statements for the new website I'm designing.

New Project, Day 3 and 4

Thursday, December 6, 2007

These last two days have been pretty hectic for me. Even though I only work part-time as an art teacher (3 days a week, for a few hours each day), when I get home I always feel totally drained of my creative energy.

Yesterday I actually had to force myself to go into the studio to work. I set a goal of transferring four smaller wings (the scapula areas) from the original drawings to the panels. I also aimed to cut them all out. I had a busting headache so this was a pretty lofty goal. I managed to get the four pieces transfered and then went outside to do the cuts. After the first one, my right hand and arm were killing me because of the intricacy of the cuts around the feathers and the weight of the saw. After the second one was finished I decided to call it quits for the night because I was so cold my hands had gone numb and the light was fading. When I don't reach my goals for a days work, I always feel pretty crummy and undisciplined (I blame myself for not being tough enough to push through the pain...must be an Army flashback).

This morning after my exercises I got right into cutting and sanding the last two pieces. I knew I had to do it because I also had to teach classes and then had to teach private lessons after that, which would leave me with no energy or daylight to work by. At least I accomplished the small goal I set for myself today.

New Project: Day 2

Monday, December 3, 2007

I have had another successful day in the studio working on my new top secret project. Well, I guess I can let "you" in on it...but don't breath a word of it to anyone else. I'm making my own set of wings, and yes, I do plan to wear them. Anyway, today I cut my wings out of a light weight birch panel and hand-sanded the edges. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be finished with them but I am enjoying the process.

New Project

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Today I started a new project (Shhhh...I can't disclose any details at this point except to say that it's pretty awesome).

It seems like it's been forever since I have been able to get my hands dirty in the studio and oh man does it feel good to be back in there. If I go a few days without some uninterrupted work time...or should I say play time, I actually start to get depressed and moody. We've been trying to get the house ready for the holidays (the in-laws are coming), and I've been busy with the various aspects of my job as an art teacher and private tutor so it has left little time for the important own art making.

Tonight I'm on a cloud. Everything about the project is moving along as it should with no unexpected complications. I love it when that happens. Stay tuned for more...