I’ve been taking a break from blogging for a while. I am far more visual than I am wordy, so at times, I just focus on the images. There are some new ones I want to share with you, but first, I have something to tell you about. I recently applied for a small business grant.
FedEx is offering to award $25,000 to the small business with the most votes. With that kind of money, I could create some great new products for you guys. I have some ideas for my Women Behaving Badly series that would help women and girls everywhere learn more about their place in history. So many women have contributed to the building of this country and our way of life. We should know who they are.
To that end, I want to print posters, informative postcards, collectible card decks (like baseball cards with stats and all), basically beautiful educational tools. Ideally, some would be for sale while others will be distributed to school aged kids. I want to inspire our young people, especially our young girls to enter high power, high paying fields like STEM, politics, business… fields in which the feminine touch is in short supply.
I am asking for your help. Please vote for me so that I can make my plans a reality.
UPDATE: The ballots have been cast and unfortunately, I have not been chosen this time around. Thank you to everyone who took time to vote (and help me troubleshoot my buttons). I will let you all know about any future opportunities that arise.
I may have mentioned this before but I love listening to podcasts. My list seems to grow every month as more, interesting series come to my attention. I stared listening to Radio Lab a few years ago and it was like my gateway drug. Podcasts allow me to insert information into my brain while I am working and inspire me to apply new concepts to my art.
It was through podcasts that I learned of some of the women I painted or my Women Behaving Badly series. I heard their stories, learned of their deeds and asked myself, why have I never heard of these women before? So, I set myself to the task of using my art to teach others. I felt as though I had finally found my purpose.
Listening to Hidden Brian today, I heard an episode which added to my motivation. The topic of the episode was unconscious bias as it relates to women, particularly women in leadership roles. Women who have the “masculine” traits necessary to be seen as good leaders are often considered overbearing and unlikable. When women display the expected “feminine” traits of being caring and compassionate, they are assumed to be weak and incompetent. The podcast calls this the “double bind”. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
The end of the podcast suggests that if we are to get women out of this double bind situation, we need to change society’s perception of women. I have chosen to showcase women in history as my way of changing that perception. I highlight women leaders, inventors and healers of nations. Not only do they inspire me, our society needs to see them as contributors to who we are. We need to let go of our unconscious biases and see value in the feminine.
Check out this episode of Hidden Brain to learn more. And go to my Women Behaving Badly blog to learn more about the series.
Happy new year everybody! I know, it’s already been a month since the year started. I just been so busy working on projects, I’m only now finding time to gather my thoughts. I would love to show you what I’ve been working on but I want to make sure I respect the privacy of my clients.
Teaching at Girls Inc.
What I can share with you is something I’ve been waiting months to do. I have moved my Women Behaving Badly paintings to Girls Inc. of Denver, where they will hang until March 3rd. When I started this series I wanted to inspire young girls with the deeds of the women who have helped to shape our society. I wish I’d had these women as role models when I was young. Now the students of Girls Inc. can see these paintings every day and read about the lives of these amazing women.
In addition to showing my work in their halls, I’m also teaching three classes a week at Girls Inc. These classes are combination of history lesson and art lesson. I begin by walking through the halls with the girls, looking at the paintings and telling each woman story as I know it. Then we had back to the classroom to review and I find out which woman inspires each girl and why. I ask if there’s anyone else they find inspirational and take note of their responses.
The younger girls are given handouts of women they can research for their own paintings. The older girls get to do independent study of woman of their choosing . I asked him to tell me a story. By day 3, we take a break from academics to do art class. The first day is all about collage where I teach about technique as well as ways to think about color, shape and subject matter. The next day we do some acrylic painting with the same ideas in mind. These will be the key elements of their final project.
The last two classes are where we put it all together. Each girl is given an 18″ x 24″ wooden board to work on and is given the task of telling the story of the woman she is selected through image, word and color. I want them to work on wood so that they see it as a final piece, not just another throwaway school project. I wanted to feel special.
The Final Product
Over the course of eight weeks, I will have worked with second grade through fifth grade. The third-grade class is already finished and the fifth-graders are halfway through. At the end, we will hold an exhibition showing off the girls work to family and friends.
I am loving this opportunity to work with young girls and to hear from them what traits they admire most in the women they’re learning about. I love their openness, their enthusiasm and their spirit of exploration. I can’t wait to see what the next five weeks will bring.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran into my friend Mike Rosenbaum, a caricature artist here in Denver. He and I had gone to school together, but haven’t hung out in a long time. We immediately made plans to catch up. He told me about this life drawing session at the Lakewood Cultural Arts Center, so we headed over there on Thursday.
Life Drawing in a Nutshell
If are an artist and you have never been to a life drawing session, I highly recommend that you go regularly. I hadn’t gone in over a year, but it came back pretty quickly. Different sessions have different formats, but the basics are:
Short gesture drawings, usually 1-five minutes per pose
Longer poses, about 10 minutes or so
Slightly longer poses 20-30 minutes each. Here the model is usually seated or reclined, though some will stand.
Long poses of 40 minutes to 2 hours. For the longest of these, the model will take a break at the halfway point to rest, then resume the pose to the best of his/her ability.
The session I went to last week had about five 1-minute poses, five 5-minute poses, one 10-minute poses and four poses that were between 20 and 30 minutes long. One minute per pose is a harrowing pace if you’re not used to it. It is, however, essential. If you can figure out the pose at one minute, with 20 or 30, you will have so much more time to work in the details. This makes it all worthwhile, to me.
Below are the drawings I did last week. One is missing because I gave it to the model. Sometimes they will take art in lieu of tips, though tips are encouraged as well.
Thanks for stopping in! Don’t forget that this Saturday is the Meet The Artist reception for Women Behaving Badly at the Blair Caldwell Library. I will be there from 2:30 -4:30 pm to answer any questions you have about the art and the series.
I have mentioned my wife Marin in a few of my posts now. I want to let you know a little about her and what she does.
My wife is brilliant. Just after graduating from college, she applied for and received the Fulbright Grant. If you don’t know about this, it is crazy hard to get, especially on the first try and especially for those who are not already Grad students. She used this grant to spend a year and a half in China researching their food culture. Did I mention she speaks fluent Mandarin? Did I mention she was brilliant?
When Marin came home, she started volunteering for this organization that works with refugees in Aurora. Through that organization, she met Zin Zin, a young Burmese women who is as passionate about cooking as Marin is about eating. They formed a partnership, teaching nutrition classes to other Burmese refugees who did not know what to do with the items at the food share. Not all vegetables are created equal.
That partnership has turned into a deep friendship which has culminated in Marin’s efforts to help grant Zin Zin’s wish to open Denver’s first Burmese restaurant. Together, they are hosting a five course Burmese Dinner to raise funds for Zin Zin’s restaurant. Follow the link below to learn more and to get your seat at the table. I am one of the lucky few who gets to eat Zin Zin’s cooking regularly. As she builds her catering business and eventually gets her own space, you could be as lucky too.
Burmese Village, the fundraising dinner will be on
November 12th 6-9pm
at the Spring Institute
1373 Grant St
Good morning everyone! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. I know mine was relaxing. My wife had just returned from a father/daughter vacation in Mexico, so we spent the weekend catching up. It was glorious!
As the title of this post suggests, I will be taking my work down from Coffee at The Point today. As always, it has been a great run. I want to thank Ryan and Donovan Cobbins for providing such a great space. I want to also thank the staff of Coffee at The Point for always being friendly and helpful. They would rearrange the space for me for our discussion panels and consistently check in to make sure me and my guests were comfortable.
I also want to thank Judith Weaver for being a great friend and excellent curator. She is the one who first encouraged me to show my work at Coffee at The Point back in 2014 with my Synesthesia series. Judy urged me to push myself with both the quality and quantity of my paintings and to make sure that I had my marketing messages organized and ready to go. Every time I work with her, I improve.
At the end of this month, I am on to the next location: the Blair Caldwell Library. I would like to continue holding panel discussions, though at a much slower rate than this last round. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what topics I should cover? So far we’ve done Women in the Arts, Women in STEM, Women in Literature and Women in Politics. I am open to suggestions and looking for speakers.
In keeping with the theme of Women Behaving Badly, I want to take some time to showcase the women in our community who are making a difference right now. This week, come for an evening of talks from women in the arts. These ladies range from the performing arts to visual art and each one is incredible at what she does.
Debbie Scheer – Comedian
Lelija Roy – Painter
Lady Speech Sankofa – Spoken Word Artist (among other things)
Check back in for more information about these ladies. And if you haven’t been down to see the show, the art will be up until the end of this week, so come early and look around.
Good afternoon everyone. My apologies for not writing yesterday. I had to run a BUNCH of errands which kept me out of the studio for half the day. I want to talk to you a little about Inktober.
This is actually the first time I’m participating and I’m kind of excited about it. Inktober is basically a challenge for the month of October in which participants have to do one drawing, in ink, a day for 31 days. Since starting to paint more seriously a few years back, I had stopped using my pens. I miss them, though. SO, I’m taking this challenge as an opportunity to hone those skills again.
I had already started doing small ink drawings as this month began, so this is perfect timing.
And as a reminder, I’m hosting the final panel discussion at Coffee at The Point, featuring Women in the Arts. It starts tonight at 6. I’ll see you there!
Good morning everyone! This Wednesday night will be the final panel discussion at Coffee at The Point. It will not be the last one forever, just the last at this venue. This week also marks the last opportunity to view the Women Behaving Badly series at Coffee at The Point. The next artist’s work will be going up and I will be moving on. Look for me at the Blair Caldwell Library starting October 26th. This will, however be the very last week to view the Sojourner Truth painting. That piece was purchased this summer and will finally go home with its owner.
Wednesday’s panel discussion is about Women in the Arts. On deck, I have a visual artist, a comedian, and a spoken word artist. Each will tell you about herself, what she does and why she does it. Lelija Roy wants people who see her paintings to fall in love with nature. Debbie Scheer uses her comedy to talk about things we don’t like to talk about and makes us more comfortable in the process. Lady Speech is challenging, yet nurturing in her activism, using her poetry to talk about sexual freedom, women’s rights, and everything in between.
These panel discussions have been some of the best conversations I have had the privilege to participate in. I am the kind of person to download as much information into her brain as possible through books, documentaries and podcasts, but these talks are on a different level. I get to see the passion in each woman’s eyes as she talks about her vocation. I get to participate and be more than just an information sponge. And, best of all, I get to know more about old friends and make some new ones.
Join us on Friday, September 30th as we talk to women in politics. Some of these women have the ability to choose the leaders who create the policies that affect us. Others are in the trenches, helping to formulate and enforce those policies.
I admit, this is not a world I understand, so I am looking forward to an evening of enlightenment.
Good afternoon! Allow me to introduce the second of the speakers for tomorrow Women in Politics discussion panel, Halisi Vinson:
Halisi holds a Masters in Business Administration and also has over 20 years of corporate experience.
As a community advocate, she created a youth program that teaches teens entrepreneurship, video production and success skills. Additionally she volunteers as a mentor and tutor for a 25-year old community college-preparation program, dedicated to inspiring at risk youth to prepare not just for a bachelors degree, but for a masters. Recently, she was reappointed to Mayor Hancock’s Denver Days roll-out committee. She was elected as a delegate to the DNC (2012) and Secretary of the county Party (2013), she is a member of the Hampden Heights Civic Association board, an honorary member of the Hampden South Neighborhood Association, and a member of CBWPA.
Between her business and community work, she understands how to meet the needs of the business world without compromising the needs of the community and its residents. Her training has given her a unique skill set geared towards understanding the implications of decisions not only for her neighborhood but for the city as a whole.
She and the other panelists will be speaking on:
Friday September 30th at
Coffee at The Point,
I look forward to hearing her perspective on the role of Black Women in the political process.
Good evening good people. Women Behaving Badly Presents: Women in Politics is happening this Friday. I have an impressive lineup of ladies to talk to you about what makes our government run. Please allow me to introduce one of them to you.
Angela Lawson is proud to have lived most of her life in Colorado. A daughter of an Air Force
veteran, Angela lived abroad, and in a handful of other cities before her parents agreed to call
Colorado their home in the 1970s. Angela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from
the University of California at Berkeley, and three Master’s degrees, two of which are from the
University of Colorado at Denver, in the fields of Public Administration as well as Social
Science; her third Master’s degree is in Public Policy from Georgetown University, in
Throughout her career, Angela has worked in various industries from technology, finance, and
law – all of which have given her valuable private sector experience. But it was her passion in
serving the citizenry that moved her away from the private sector to a career in public service.
She has worked at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for ten years and on November 3,
2015, she was elected as Aurora’s newest City Council Member At-Large.
Angela enjoys volunteering, attending performing arts and live music events, traveling and
reading political biographies.
I am so excited to have Angela speak on Friday evening’s panel. I look forward to hearing her perspective on the changes in Aurora’s demographics and the refugee community. My wife works closely with refugees in Aurora, so I’m invested. Click on the events link below for more information.