July 2016


Is there that “Thing” that you have in your life, that one goal, that one stick in your craw that has burned inside you for as long as your memories go back?

Is there something that wakes you up in the morning with a need outside of your control that gnaws at you till it can come to the surface? Do you hear your voice? Do you know your mark? 

Artists have dealt with these questions throughout their lives; it can be the determining factor in a career. And I know it can sound elitist, but it is not meant to be like that at all. I am not saying I have been “Chosen” or anything like that, but I am an artist, and I have a deep desire to express that thing inside me that wakes me up and the first thought is
                                                        “Get out in the studio,
                                                              time is limited,
                                                this is over before you know it!”
                                                           I have been working,
                                                                    struggling,
                                                                       trying,
                                                                      making ,
                                                                     for years.
                                                           I have had studios in tiny apartments where when I went to sleep after painting, the last thing I saw before I closed my eyes was my painting, and the first thing I saw when I woke up was my painting.  Where I told myself it was squirrels I heard in the walls, knowing perfectly well it was rats running all around me.

I have had studios in garages and storage units, had to put on layers of clothing and used a propane heater to keep myself warm and peed in a jar.

 I have padlocked myself into the spaces so that I would be safe, because I was a young girl alone painting late into the night because it was the only time I had to do it.

I have carved out time to keep my work going through working in a cubicle and “moonlighting” to pay the bills, and somehow finding the time to create along with having two babies.

And it is only now, with complete certainty that I can forcefully announce that I am finally seeing the paintings I am meant to make . I am reaching a point where I may actually have found a certain satisfaction in my work.
        I feel like I am bursting out of a cocoon of webbing made by teachers,
                                                                               and other’s opinions,
                                                                                       and art history
                                                                   and needing to prove myself,
                                                                                to prove my ability,
                                          to prove that I understand the craft of painting.
                       And to finally learn I have to throw it all away and just do it.
I have heard and read so many artists say that you have to learn as much as you can, and then unlearn it. I thought I had done that. But only now can I truly see what they meant.

My paintings may never hang in a museum; they may pile up in my studio, and collect dust. But I truly feel right now, that I have found my stream, my flow,  whatever it is that it is defined by. This feeling might be fleeting and I may wake up tomorrow and have completely lost it, and I will chase it down for the rest of my life like a junkie on the street.  Or I may just explode from here on out. I may be on a precipice, or hell, maybe I am just delirious.
                                                         But all l want to say is
                                                                      “HELL YES!”
                                                      and I don’t care anymore,
                                                                     I am what I am,
                                                             I create what I create
                                                                and that is enough!

Is this feeling given solely to artists? To Creatives? Do you feel it too?  What is that thing that wakes you in the morning that drives your spirit on, to seek the curiousness of the day? I may very well “be out there”, and I am totally fine with that. I have earned the right to acknowledge that I love what I do, I have paid some dues, probably have a lot more to pay, and I willingly look forward to paying more if the rewards are so fulfilling for my soul, my DNA, my electric neurons… whatever it is that has made a mass of molecules come together to give me THIS.

So watch this space……I feel great things coming.

may 2016

 

Whew.. I am coming up for air. Finally updated my website and Saatchi site with all the work I have been finishing. Take a pop over and check it all out.

The painting above is titled “Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you Now tell me about hundreds of things”. It comes from a quote by H.H.Monro who was an author who wrote under the pen name Saki. Just thought it fit real nice. I am working on the negative space with the roses, looking to make different shape paintings, more long and rectangular. Watch for what will happen.

Just as an FYI, for those of you who do not know, our family as acquired a new member. There is a long story of how my husband found our new little companion at the Waste Water treatment plant, yes, the sewage place, and yes, our new little friend was definitely flushed and that is how he came into our lives. For the whole story you can click on over to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kittykoco2/  and see pictures of our little friend and his journey. But the reason I bring him, or it up, is that he is scraping like crazy at the walls of his aquarium as I write this. I was enjoying the windows open listening to the calling if my Crow friends and actually hearing the buzzing of bees and such, the first time all season I have actually opened all the windows in the house. But there Lester goes, desperately trying to find a way out of his home. I can’t help but wonder if we are not all doing the same thing, scraping at the invisible walls around us and not realizing how good we have it under a nice heat lamp. He makes me wonder, Do I really appreciate all that I have? Is it just our nature to want more, like Lester? He would have definitely died if we had not taken him in, and his future will definitely bring concessions from us. If you haven’t read the Facebook post, He is a Savannah Monitor, and has the possibility of growing to six feet long, and he cannot survive outside in the winter, so my living room will become a lizard lair. I am not complaining,( I feel like it is destiny that we found each other, of course I do, you had to know that already), But the circumstances that have brought him to us, and the life we offer him now seem to sustain him, but is it really enough?

I suppose growth can be viewed in so many ways. The growth of our personalities and our maturing ideas are always expanding, or at least I hope they are. I can only hope, seeing as I am a bit more complex than Lester,( I hope), is that I will always be grateful for the life I have been given. I may have  tested it back in my youth, and maybe that iIs what Lester is doing now, because I know he does not see the lovable predator who is watching him through that glass, otherwise known as Rocco, my cat, and  given the chance to eat that lizard for breakfast, will in a heartbeat.  Yet there he goes, desperately trying to climb those glass walls. It’s never a bad idea to test our boundaries, but he reminds me to always stay cautious.

 And also, that given a few years, and all the nourishment I require, I will be bigger and smarter, and faster than that predator, and I will be the one to fear.

On the theme of growth, I have started to take myself out of my studio and paint plein air. I am really enjoying it, and once again I feel like I have so much to learn, so many places for growth.  Mother Nature is never empty handed. I struggle in making my “practice” something that is also modern. But I feel I am taking baby steps, and with each stroke, I learn something new.

If you get a chance in the next week or two, I highly recommend visiting the Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair. If it is a sunny day, you can find me sitting among the irises painting away. I even had the pleasure of having a proposal behind me. The groom was good, and had a videographer hiding in the trees, and a photographer waiting between the rows of irises. She must have said “Yes” from all the giggling I heard behind me. So, just to give you an idea of the great vibe of the place. The Irises are not in bloom for long, so get out there if you get a chance.

I apologize for the randomness of this newsletter, all that scraping at the glass was staring to wear on me I guess. Thanks for hanging in if you made it this far. 


Whew.. I am coming up for air. Finally updated my website and Saatchi site with all the work I have been finishing. Take a pop over and check it all out.
The painting above is titled “Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you Now tell me about hundreds of things”. It comes from a quote by H.H.Monro who was an author who wrote under the pen name Saki. Just thought it fit real nice. I am working on the negative space with the roses, looking to make different shape paintings, more long and rectangular. Watch for what will happen.
Just as an FYI, for those of you who do not know, our family as acquired a new member. There is a long story of how my husband found our new little companion at the Waste Water treatment plant, yes, the sewage place, and yes, our new little friend was definitely flushed and that is how he came into our lives. For the whole story you can click on over to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kittykoco2/ and see pictures of our little friend and his journey. But the reason I bring him, or it up, is that he is scraping like crazy at the walls of his aquarium as I write this. I was enjoying the windows open listening to the calling if my Crow friends and actually hearing the buzzing of bees and such, the first time all season I have actually opened all the windows in the house. But there Lester goes, desperately trying to find a way out of his home. I can’t help but wonder if we are not all doing the same thing, scraping at the invisible walls around us and not realizing how good we have it under a nice heat lamp. He makes me wonder, Do I really appreciate all that I have? Is it just our nature to want more, like Lester? He would have definitely died if we had not taken him in, and his future will definitely bring concessions from us. If you haven’t read the Facebook post, He is a Savannah Monitor, and has the possibility of growing to six feet long, and he cannot survive outside in the winter, so my living room will become a lizard lair. I am not complaining,( I feel like it is destiny that we found each other, of course I do, you had to know that already), But the circumstances that have brought him to us, and the life we offer him now seem to sustain him, but is it really enough?
I suppose growth can be viewed in so many ways. The growth of our personalities and our maturing ideas are always expanding, or at least I hope they are. I can only hope, seeing as I am a bit more complex than Lester,( I hope), is that I will always be grateful for the life I have been given. I may have tested it back in my youth, and maybe that iIs what Lester is doing now, because I know he does not see the lovable predator who is watching him through that glass, otherwise known as Rocco, my cat, and given the chance to eat that lizard for breakfast, will in a heartbeat. Yet there he goes, desperately trying to climb those glass walls. It’s never a bad idea to test our boundaries, but he reminds me to always stay cautious.
And also, that given a few years, and all the nourishment I require, I will be bigger and smarter, and faster than that predator, and I will be the one to fear.
On the theme of growth, I have started to take myself out of my studio and paint plein air. I am really enjoying it, and once again I feel like I have so much to learn, so many places for growth. Mother Nature is never empty handed. I struggle in making my “practice” something that is also modern. But I feel I am taking baby steps, and with each stroke, I learn something new.
If you get a chance in the next week or two, I highly recommend visiting the Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair. If it is a sunny day, you can find me sitting among the irises painting away. I even had the pleasure of having a proposal behind me. The groom was good, and had a videographer hiding in the trees, and a photographer waiting between the rows of irises. She must have said “Yes” from all the giggling I heard behind me. So, just to give you an idea of the great vibe of the place. The Irises are not in bloom for long, so get out there if you get a chance.
I apologize for the randomness of this newsletter, all that scraping at the glass was staring to wear on me I guess. Thanks for hanging in if you made it this far. 

March 2016

I joke around all the time about my “OCD”. I really do not have OCD,  that is a really debilitating issue. I am very happily just superstitious. Happily? You ask. Why, yes,… quite.

I think if I list my superstitions for you, you can understand:

Upon waking, one must not step out of bed until there is an even numbered time on all clock faces that can be seen. This even-numbered time ritual comes up a lot, best explanation is, 5:45 is BAD, and 5:46 is GOOD.

Once time is even, and if cat is in the bedroom, one must pet the cat until it purrs before moving on to the next step, which is reaching down with one’s foot to lift the “Husband” ( I hope you all know what type of pillow I am referencing…the back rest type?) off the floor by inserting toes through the loop at top of said Husband. Place Husband at top of bed, slip out of bed, and proceed to make bed before moving on to necessary morning functions, approx. 15-20 min of non-superstitious behavior can ensue.

Once entering the kitchen, and it is a week day AND a school day, one must NOT prepare the coffee right away, as much as one may REALLY want the coffee.

Obligatory food needs to be prepared and packaged, zipped up in a lunch bag. Then one must wait until the correct time of 6:30 am, when one must open the front door before eldest child gets there to leave, then close door once said child has stepped off the porch. One must stand in place at the door, and watch till said child walks to specific point on street, then,  one can then turn and begin to prepare the coffee. As coffee preparation is happening, one must watch to make sure that eldest child passes by two lights as you watch through window at sink ( and try to make sure eldest child does not see you watching, because consequences of this behavior leads to lots of apologizing later  in the afternoon, with lots of “Of course I trust you, and I know you are old enough”,’s…it really isn’t about her…doesn’t she get that?),  then coffee pot may be started. Then, and only then, can one get out notebook and write three consecutive morning pages. All three pages must be filled. Once this task is completed, coffee may be poured and enjoyed.

Once wake up time is reached for youngest child, one must not leave to go upstairs until that time is an even number on oven clock AND microwave clock. Then one may ascend stairs, wake youngest child, open shades, then find cat which is always sleeping on eldest child’s bed, raise those shades, pick up cat, carry cat to youngest child, and pet cat till purring to help wake youngest child.

See, that’s just the morning. It’s not that bad, I could just look at it as I am just very scheduled. You must do similar things, No?

It is VERY important to note, that I have tried to bypass these…actions…and only DOOM comes from it. I am not even kidding.  I once woke up super brave, and did not pet the cat, and jumped out of bed Willy Nilly on some crazy odd numbered time, and literally everything I touched that day broke, I- Am -Not –Even- Kidding!!!! I know how to read the signs my friends; it is BAD to not follow through on your superstitious behaviors. There are evil vibes surrounding us all, and I keep them all at bay by just following through on a few …..Rituals.

A general over view of a few other superstitions you may want to watch out for yourselves:

Whenever possible, never leave a room on an odd numbered time.

Never, Ever put a book down on an odd numbered page.

If you drive through a yellow light on the street, scratch the roof of your vehicle.

If you go over a train track in a car, lift your feet.

The toilet paper roll must ALWAYS roll from the top.

When doing laundry, it is always this sequence: Detergent, softener, bleach.

Once laces are tied on a child’s cleats, the cleat must be slapped.

When cooling down from a run, always walk three circles around your yard, or wherever it is that you stopped to cool down.

Never, ever, ever, put a hat on a bed...it means someone will die.

 Always keep the grape jelly on the top left side of the fridge, especially if the Women’s US Soccer team is playing that day.  There are a lot more superstitions having to do with helping the US Women’s soccer team win…but I will not get into those, this time.

I could go on and on, but that should help you all for now.  Just doing my little community service in helping good vibes reach all of you.

So , on to business.

If you have not yet seen the interview I did with the Fabulous Megan Gray, for her Creative mother’s Project, please pop over and read it. She is really awesome, so you should check out her work while you are on her site, she is in to miniature en plein air paintings. Here is the link: http://www.megangrayarts.com/creative-mothers

I am also happy to report that I did receive a Third Place and an Honorable mention at the St. Catherine of Bologna’s 17th Annual Art Exhibition in Ringwood, NJ. It was a great event; I highly recommend it to all my local friends next year. Free wine and treats and art, what more could you ask for?

The painting above is the newest in my “Tea in the Parlor” series. It is 30“ x 30” oil on canvas, and I am just in love with it. I have titled it “The Religion of Art and Life”.  All the titles from this series will be coming from references to tea in works of literature. This one comes from “The book of Tea” by  Okakura Kakuzō, and this particular phrase was his definition  for  tea.

 As tea can be a ritual, I leave you to go make yourself a cuppa.


June 2015

I know you have seen her. It could have been a him too. You have seen someone completely in their element, doing something in their everyday life that they were born to do. They do it with a simple grace and fluidity, a quiet sense of full confidence, and they do it for the complete joy of it. It may not be a large act, or a super meaningful task, they do it just as easily as breathing, and the air around them glows a little brighter.

This one took a long time to complete, and it is with a little bit of sadness that I have finally finished it. It might be because the piece feels so full of joy, I would look forward to going into the studio and working on it. It is large, 5’ x 2’10”, so it is not quiet by any means. This piece has so much music in it, it is deafening. If I composed music, this is what it would look like I guess. I love the pose; the woman is so open, bearing her whole self. She moves on the canvas in a dance.

The dots around her are made with a litho crayon, which is one of my favorite drawing tools. It is smudgy, and dark, and easy to manipulate. I needed to have the repetition of the dots, not to be an aura, but to be energy. I stole the name, “Static Addict” from an Eminem lyric, because that was where my inspiration stemmed from, not the whole song, although it is good, but just that description. This idea of needing drama, or an unseen energy whirling around us, caused by us, and the need to feed upon it. No one is immune from drama. You may be lucky enough to only have small doses of it, or have a high tolerance to it, but it exists around us all just by the sheer nature of community and society. This piece is kind of an illustration of how it attaches to us, and moves around us, and it is our choice on how much we let it affect us. I have witnessed people get swarmed by drama, and drown in it. This piece feels like a rising up and shaking it off and becoming stronger for it.

I kept the woman’s eyes closed, not to hide her, but rather to keep her introspective, completely in the moment. This piece is difficult for me to write about because I do not want to nail down one specific idea about it. It has a flow about it. And that flow should be experienced by you without the parameters I may suggest they are.

Below are some detail pics of the piece. Once again because it is large, I like to show what you would see if you stood in front of it.

My next project is starting slowly; the ideas are still coming together. Basically I am coming into a conflict about how women are portrayed in images. And as a figurative artist, I need to own responsibility about what I put out there. The conundrum being, I love to paint the figure, but I hate the way nudity is perceived as demeaning to women as a group. So I am developing some ideas, I guess we’ll have to wait till next month to see where they take me.

The saga of the local art exhibition here in town continues. Apparently I won something, but they still have yet to inform me of what, or how many pieces, LOL. But, if you are local, apparently one or a few of my pieces will be hanging in the Vreeland Store on Macopin Road in West Milford. Really cute place, with great cappuccino if you are nearby.

Oh, And last but certainly not least …GO TEAM USA…I BELEIVE THAT WE WILL WIN, I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

Sorry, you will now have that chant in your head all day long, 


April 2015

Warning: my political feathers are rustled!

I have been finding it hard to focus on my musings, because ideas keep popping in my head as quickly as the crocuses are pushing their way out of the ground, everyday a new little patch of energy.

I finished reading the book, “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult, and although I tend to enjoy her stories, this one I could have done without the story and just read about the elephants. She does do her research, so a lot of the facts about elephants are true, not fictionalized.  Nothing in the book made me want to stand up and save the elephants; I just truly enjoyed learning about them and their herd mentality.  During this time I had the chance to go to the circus. As long as you do not live under a rock, then you are probably aware of all the hullabaloo surrounding the treatment of the elephants in the circus, and how they are phasing them out of the business. Again, nothing really made me want to yell and scream and spit about the horrors that elephants go through, to be honest, I enjoyed the show! The elephants looked happy to me, and seemed to thrive on the applause from the crowd, as any other performer does.

Then I had a rare treat of getting a pedicure with my girls. We went to the local nail salon, stereotypically owned by an Asian family. The girl who was my attendant was the only non-Asian working in the salon. She was very quiet, and as I feel weird when people I do not know touch me, especially my feet, I tried to make some small talk with her. She smiled a warm smile at me and nodded her head politely, but did not engage with me. I, still feeling the need to talk with her, pointed out her gold elephant necklace she was wearing. One of the other ladies came over to see what I was talking about, and spoke above her to her other employees, and kinda laughed and made some strange Mexican flag explanation for the necklace. They all giggled and spoke to themselves in their language, and my attendant just silently bent over and continued with my pedicure. I still do not know what her necklace means, but I am pretty damn sure there are no elephants in Mexico.

Then I read a headline on my browser, “Elephant Hunter Killed by Elephant”. And I thought, well, damn, Good one for the elephant!

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way as all the internet trolls seemed to agree with me. And then, as only the internet can do, I found myself swimming through the elephant murder articles, and getting utterly pissed off.

And because I have nowhere to put that anger and feeling of helplessness, I have only to share it with you, it is my little part of spreading the word. Just check out this link, http://vetpaw.org/  to the coolest place ever. They hire military vets as an army to go after the poachers. Keep in mind, if nothing changes, 11 short years from now, wild elephants will be wiped off the planet, and terrorism will be Billions of dollars richer, please just take a few minutes to watch this extraordinary PSA: http://www.lastdaysofivory.com/ .

Then, because my book club is awesome (Love you ladies), we just finished “Three Little Words” by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, and now I feel the need to save the foster children in our country! I find myself questioning, could I be a foster parent? Should I wait till my kids are more grown? Am I strong enough? But if not me, then who? If you haven’t picked up this gem of a book, do yourself a favor and get it.

I guess there is always some soap box I am willing to stand on, on any given day I could probably hop on them like stepping stones. It must be in the buildup of my DNA, I am not the type of personality to just brush bothersome ideas away. Although the problems that ignite a fire in me seem insurmountable, there is always a feeling that there must be something I can do. Which can really not be any more illustrated than with the completion of my most recent painting.

It is named “Tilting the Windmill”.  It was a big fail to me. I do not consider this one of my better pieces. Usually I finish a piece and it is almost like a high, a deep feeling of satisfaction and completion, a journey come full circle, from idea to object manifested. This piece was made for a local competition, and I have hopes it will do well. But something seemed lacking, until I found the title. As I went in on this with just the idea of representing the estate that is holding the competition, I shouldn’t really be surprised that I came out feeling empty. In my mind, this was a glorious piece. But in reality, it was a bit too small (30” x 30”), I struggled with the circles and the straight lines. It was clearly a challenge for me. So in leaving all I knew of the piece to the side, and looking for a title, it was reborn. “Tilting the windmills” is a phrase that means to pursue an unrealistic, impractical, or even impossible goal.

And for me, that’s what is has been about the entire time.

Here’s to tilting your windmills, no matter what they are.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. I documented the whole process of this painting, after each day of painting. I even posted a video of me working on my newest piece. More of those to come. So many ideas are popping up for me, there are truly not enough hours in a day to get everything down.

And, so far, I have only posted one picture of my cat…..I am sure there are many to follow…sorry in advance.