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Friday, December 14, 2012

new glasses, kinda cat eye.

as a visual artist, the "visual" part of me has needed correction for the last 15 years or so.  when i first went to the eye doctor in my mid 30's requesting bifocals, he laughed.  that was, until he tested my eyes.  then it was obvious to both of us, and i walked out with a new prescription for progressive lenses.

over the several doctors have tried to talk me in to contacts.  oh, i have tried.  bad idea.  i went for a couple of weeks one time before i gave up and put the glasses back on.  i don't really mind glasses.  i usually don't even notice them on my face.  what i do notice are nice frames when i am staring back at myself in the mirror.  so i alway splurge for something a bit fun or funky or colorful.  i usually wear these frames for at least 2 years, every day for over 16 hours.

here are my new ones.  slightly catty, just like me!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

slightly crooked, but finished!

i finished john's chair.  it came out pretty well, but the pattern got a bit wonky on the seat.  i think next time i will try something a bit more random.  but for the price, i'd say it's a success.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


i haven't been writing much.  and i haven't been making art.  what i have been doing is stressing out.   my husband (john) just got a new job.  it's been a bit crazy here in the interim.  at first we thought we were going to have to move to california.  that sounds like a fun adventure, but the problem was that our dear boy (ben) is a senior in high school.  he is not really in a good place to move.

luckily, as it turns out, we don't have to move.  john will be working in denver!  that is great except for one thing... he will be working from home.  now, don't get me wrong.  i am thrilled that he will be working from home!  it's nice to have lunch together, and it's nice that he can be on a call and throw a bit of laundry in.   but the problem is our office situation.

we have a wonderful office in our house.  it's beautiful, thanks to the previous owners of our abode who put in built-ins and two work stations with granite desktops.  the bad news is that it's next to the front door.  and our sweet labrador (vinny) loves to bark like a crazed doggie when the doorbell rings.  not a good situation for someone on a very important phone call.

so john is moving to the basement!  he already has a great room down there for his creative endeavors.  so we are adding some cool furniture and doing some re-painting to make it officially an office.  we got a desk on craigslist (photos to come when it's refinished) and i am in the process of creating the perfect office chair!

i got the chair a couple of years ago at goodwill.  it was $1.95!  yes, one dollar and 95 cents!!  i wish i took the before before pic, but i forgot.  so here is the before finishing and after taking apart version.

i bought the retro fabric yesterday, and am in the process of sewing a seat cover.  i have already re-covered the back and arms.  all in, it's cost is about $50.  that was for fabric and new foam.  

i am really excited for this!  promise to post our progress as it comes to fruition!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

jenny fillius

the internet can be a wonderful place for artists to meet.  recently, i received a message from a fellow collector and assembler of stuff, named jenny fillius.  jenny does some awesome work using found sheet metal which she snips and rivets and layers to create her wonderful pieces.  

being a collector of all things saintly, i am especially intrigued with her madonna creations.

hail mary

VOG (virgin of guadalupe)

i first saw jenny's work on pinterest, which led me to her website,  she also has an etsy page, its link is on her website.

i have met so many interesting people through my computer.  it's amazing how the artist community (or any other) can seek kindred spirits by messaging through etsy, facebook, and the like.  it is definitely a great time to be an artist, although sometimes i admit i spend a bit too much time on the computer and not enough time in the studio!

thank you, jenny for the message.  maybe one day i will be in seattle, or you will be in denver, and then we can go on a monumental hunt for treasures!

Friday, November 16, 2012

the art of it all at shy rabbit

interior of shy rabbit contemporary arts in pagosa springs, co

the durango herald has a great article featuring the show in which my work is included.  click here for a link to the article!

shy rabbit also has a call posted on their site for their "print international 4" exhibit, which opens in july.  for any printmakers out there, it's a great opportunity to be a part of a great show in a great gallery!  click here for a link with the call information.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


while working in littleton for a few years, i was lucky enough to meet helen rice, the owner of willow.  willow is a great little spot on the corner of main and prince streets in historic downtown littleton.  helen has been in business for many years, and has worked hard to carry artwork by many local and national artists.  recently, i have added some work to her collection.  if you have the chance to stop by, it's a great venue for one-of-a-kind finds.  i always find wonderful gifts among the art, jewelry, clothing, and accessories.  

please check out willow's website by clicking here.  and if you go by, tell helen i sent you!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

a few new game piece boxes

i spent the weekend making 3 new game piece boxes.  i also did some junk store hunting to see if i could find some more pieces.  no luck.  this may be it for the boxes.  i have used my 20 year reserves.

i will be bringing these down to a friend's gallery to sell.  she has the last word on what she would like to display in her space, so i'm crossing my fingers!

Monday, October 22, 2012

mountain house

it's been a heck of a month.  after my last post about my doggie, there was another surgery.  that makes three times that they have opened him up.  and all due to some pesky peach pits.  i truly think he is on the mend for good this time.  he is eating like a logroller (AKA labrador), and has the sparkle back in his eyes.  who would have thought that a month later we were still dealing with the after effects of a backyard snack??

the good news about nursing a dog back to health, is that it keeps an artist home.  and in my case, being home is a good formula for getting artwork done.  this weekend i finished my large painting, and also got some game piece boxes done.  i will post some pics of the boxes when they are 100% dry.  they need a day to set up completely before i can seal them and photograph them.  my plan is to take them to a friend's gallery to sell.  

in the meantime, here's a picture of the painting.  the right side is cut off a tiny bit, and you can't see the sides of the canvas, which i have left cadmium red medium.  that's also the color of the underpainting.  

i'm going to hang it for a few days to see what might drive me crazy.  anything look like it needs a change to you?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

the art of it all

i am lucky enough to be a part of a group show, the art of it all, at shy rabbit contemporary arts in pagosa springs this november and december.  if you happen to be in pagosa springs, or on the way to durango, it's definitely worth the stop.  here is the show announcement.  for more info about the gallery, click here.  and as always, you can click on the pictures below for a larger image.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

thanks, st. anthony & st. francis!

good news!  our boy came home yesterday!

yay!  looks like he is finally out of the woods!

i have been praying to st. anthony, but somehow my dorky mind got him all confused with st. francis.   i know, i know, i should know these things. after all, my aunt claire had a shrine to st. francis on her property.  a big concrete statue of him in the middle of a flower bed, surrounded with animals.  duh.  did i mention that my mother's name is frances??? well, i guess the brown robes got me confused.  or the fact that i was out of my mind with worry.  so thanks to both saints, for sorting out the confusion, and getting the right prayers to the right places.

in honor of vinny's homecoming, i decided to do a blog post about my favorite friends, the saints.  i have written about my fascination of the saints before. growing up in a catholic family made the saints easy to come by.  i had a great aunt who was an artist, and she made sculptures of them.  they floated around the houses of my relatives in baltimore, and i remember a brown-robed one in my own house.

my grandmother also had some saints, plastic in nature, perched on her high dresser.  i would go in her room, and peer at them, thinking that they were somehow powerful.  i don't think i ever asked her about them.  i just wondered.

it's all kind of strange, this saint attraction.  i am not incredibly religious.  i can't remember the last time i sat through a mass.  but there is still some sort of magic that the exude for me.  i am still curious about them 45 years later.

the saint theme repeats itself time after time in my work.  i sometimes wish i could understand what they are trying to say to me, but usually don't analyze too much.  i just let them out when they need to be released.  the virgin mary, in many forms, shows up frequently.  i was looking through my sketchbooks the other day, and found more than a few in each one.

last week junk-hunting,  i found the best saint collectible, ever.  it's a picture of saint lucy, whose name comes from the latin "lux", meaning "light".  she is the patron saint of the blind.  she is usually shown with a plate holding eyeballs.  there are several stories about lucy.  in the 15th century, texts start telling that she was tortured by eye-gouging, and that god restored her eyes.

here she is, plate full of eyeballs and all!  oh those saints, who couldn't love them?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

saint anthony

i haven't been making art.  for the last 2 1/2 weeks i have been concentrating on my boy, vinny.  in a previous post, i mentioned he had eaten a bunch of peaches, and had to have surgery.

he's not doing well, and is now at the hospital under the care of 4 very knowledgeable veterinarians.  this is the photo john snapped last night when we visited him.  he's pretty skinny, and a bit weak, but he is still able to wag his tail and give kisses.

i have been praying to saint anthony to make him better.
any help would be highly appreciated.

we love our boy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

good morning!

this is what was outside when i woke up this morning.  guess it's time to take out the sweaters here in denver.  it's also a good time to huddle inside, make some chili, and create some art.  mother nature is doing her job of keeping me inside and focussed.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

what a week.

it's been a hell of a week here at the fweger household.  no artwork was being made, that's for sure.  we think we are finally out of the woods...cross fingers and toes.  long story short, our adorable and voracious labrador decided to have a peach picnic.  he ended up in the dog hospital, and after a week including surgery, X-rays, ultrasounds, a barium swallow, and many days on IV fluids, is finally ok.

needless to say, not one hour was spent in the studio.  i did manage to pack up work to send to one show, and apply to another.  but that was it.

yesterday and today i have finally been painting.  here is a sneak preview.  it has a long way to go. to compound that, the canvas is huge--36 inches square.  so far, it's the largest painting i have ever done.  i am a couple of hours in, and expect it to be a long time in coming to fruition.  

after the painting, i am going to concentrate on more prints.  i haven't decided whether to re-apply to the cherry creek arts festival, but i am going to spend the next two months getting ready, just in case.  i have some ideas that involve multiple prints, using thread as a drawing tool, and mounting work on cradled hardboard vs. matting and framing.  so we will see...

i really liked doing the CCAF, but it was pretty intense.  i'll see if i have the stamina this year!!  i honestly don't know how many of these artists spend so much time on the road.  it's hard enough shuffling the work and the tent and the other necessaries when you live 20 minutes away.  i can't even imagine driving 500 or more miles.  i had a tough enough time balancing kids, dogs, and one weekend. i have a truly new appreciation for the arts fair people.  they are some tough cookies.

ok, here you go:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

study, part 1

working on the study this morning.  no color yet.  not sure if this will work so large.
have to wait and see once it's a bit farther along.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


big. ass. canvas.
that's what is sitting in my studio right now.  i generally don't work large.  36x36 inches is kind of overwhelming for me, but i'm gonna give it a try.

we recently did a master bath upgrade.  we lived with terra-cotta, dark green, and cast plastic countertops for 7 years.  we have finally updated the look.  we went for a light spa blue, white, gray, and black color scheme.  unfortunately the oranges, reds, and greens in the master bedroom clashed quite a bit.  the two color schemes right next to each other got me off kilter.  so i have been working to change the bedroom into something more complimentary.  i'm going with blues and greens, which will allow us to keep our painted green bed frame and the slightly lighter green walls.  

i know the golden rule of art is not to "match it to your couch" (or in this case to your bathroom), but i just could not live with the huge orange, red, magenta, and green painting over our bed.  hence, the canvas.  yup, i am definitely too cheap to buy a painting that large.  so i will make do (hopefully) with my own creation.

i have an obsession with houses.  a few years ago we did a vacation in southern colorado.  while i was there, i snapped some pictures of old houses in various states of decay.  i am thinking i will try out this sketch, loosely drawn from one of the photos. 

i have also decided to do a smaller painting first.  it's 10x10 inches.  i have gessoed the canvas black.  i'm going to try and old technique i use sometimes.  the black with actually come through as the outline in the final painting.

wish me luck!

Monday, September 10, 2012

big 5-0.

yep, yesterday was my 50th birthday.  i honestly don't know how this happened.

my friend leslie and i were talking about how when our parents turned fifty they were really, really old.  and we are just NOT that old.  funny how a teenage mind sees fifty as ancient.  now that we are here we truly feel exactly the same inside, it's just the outside that's a bit different.  

i received some very awesome gifts yesterday.  here are two of my favorites, for obvious reasons (if you know me at all).

vintage wood!  and it's sitting on top of a book on french history, filled with scribbles in graphite from 1908!  love, love, love old wood and old handwriting--especially in pencil.  thanks dad and anita!!

pastel.  new mexico.  plein air frame.  dinah worman.  perfect.
thank you, john.

that's all for today.  what else can i say?  besides, i need to go walk off this menopausal waist line!

Friday, September 7, 2012

more old wood, and wonder

foundry molds

german "tramp art" niche

folky masonic shelf

clock case 

assorted brushes 

some more of my wooden things.  there is just something about how wood ages.  it gets more and more beautiful.  the nicks, the gouges, the burnishing from use.  i can't help it, i have to bring it home.

these pieces can be mostly found in my studio.  it's kinda like "hoarders"in there, but more organized.  i keep telling my husband that if we ever sell the house, i need to put the whole lot in storage and make my studio into a bedroom when the house is shown.  that way people can actually see the room.  because right now, it's kinda hard to even imagine a bedroom in that space.  

speaking of selling the house, john and i went up to stapleton last weekend.  stapleton is a planned community in denver that used to be the airport.  they have done a pretty nice job of developing the area into a nice place to live.  there are lots of parks and green space, a little town center, and many different styles of housing.  what i like the most is that the garages are on alleys instead of on the main streets.  it gives the place a nice look.  we looked at several model homes, and honestly loved them.  it made us want to either move into a brand new home with all of the awesome finishes, or get our house back into shape.

the third option is the one i dream of.  buying some old factory, or church, or other commercial building, and re-doing the whole thing to make it a home.  hopefully there will be lots of old wooden things left.  those things will have the patina i love, worn from use and time.  the new finishes would be carefully chosen to enhance the old ones.  and there would be space for my studio, this time larger and funkier.  

new house?  same house?  house of my dreams?  oh, it's so nice to wonder.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

clyfford still museum

exterior showing striated texture

my favorite

on sunday, my husband and i went to the clyfford still museum ( in downtown denver.  in his later life, still chose not to exhibit his work, so it turns out that 94 percent of what he created is housed in this museum.  they have to rotate the work, as there is not display space for all of it at once.

still painted giant canvases, with abstract forms and highly expressive brush stroke.  the museum literature says that still was the first of his contemporaries (including jackson pollock, mark rothko, helen frankenthaler, willem de kooning, and philip guston to name a few) who changed from representational work to abstraction.  for still, this happened between 1938 and 1942.  

the exhibits are set up in a sort of time line, with earlier work first.  i can't say that i really enjoyed his early paintings.  early pieces were landscapes and figures, and felt very WPA in style to me.  i appreciated the pieces, but they did make me feel a bit sad.  still was painting the things in his environment, which included farmers and laborers during the depression.  

what i can say, is that i was blown away as i moved toward the larger abstract paintings in the exhibit space.  i loved the jagged shapes, seemingly moving vertically in the space.  i also really liked the fact that many of the paintings showed bare canvas in spots.  always one for surface, it gave the paintings one more layer of interest. the matte finish of the paint also spoke to me.  

i didn't know much about still before his museum was slated to come to denver.  while the museum was under construction, the denver art museum did a sort of "teaser" in their space, showing a few paintings and some information about still.  i never remember studying still along with the other abstract expressionists in college.  but i am glad i have learned about his work, and feel incredibly lucky that i can now see the collection so conveniently.

one more note is that the building itself is worth seeing by itself.  the interior and exterior are concrete.  i think i read it was poured and textured in place.  wooden slats were used as the framework, and spaces were left to let the concrete ooze out, creating three dimensional striations inside and outside of the building.  a very interesting surface to discover.  i also thought the ceilings were amazing--also of concrete, but this time almost "cellular" looking.  there is a honeycomb of oval holes above you, letting in the denver sunshine at a distinct angle.  

the ceiling!

i will definitely be back!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

lack of oxygen

this is another wooden piece from my collection.  i think this little cage was a give-away when a bird was purchased at a pet store.  above the graphic are the letters SOLD in pencil, which are then scratched out.  maybe they returned the bird?  on the underside, the cage is stamped "Made in Occupied Japan", which dates it to the late forties to the early 50's.  for some reason i like these old bird cages.  i have tried to find some on ebay and etsy, but they are usually really expensive.  most are sold as "miner bird cages", meaning that they were probably used by men in the mines to determine if there was enough oxygen down there.  but i'm not sure about this.  

speaking of enough oxygen, mine is about gone.  it's from the gasps of frustration over facebook.  over the last year or so, i have been an active participant.  but not anymore.  i am going to delete my account today.  there are two reasons, one being that i can't face the political posts and commentary any longer.  the second is that i am finding myself getting sucked in to the political posts and commentary! i am all for politics, but i don't want to shove it in anyone's face without a discussion.  it's the same as religion, or anything else.  i respect your choice, but expect you to respect mine.  sometimes i feel like facebook isn't the best place for that kind of discussion.  i knew it was getting bad for me when i started posting a few political things.  and then i realized i was preaching to the choir.  if you didn't happen to be a member of that choir, i was really alienating you.  and that's not what i wanted to do.

so no more facebook.

i know that this could not be a good thing for me artistically.  i used facebook to let people see new work, or announce shows.  i also use it to alert people that i have a new blog post.  but it's the chance i'll have to take.

maybe when the election is over, i can safely go back to that kind of social media.  but for now, i am done for the moment.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

the most collected

it's been a while since i have posted.  i have been kind of taking a much needed break from making art. i think my brain needs a rest so it can catch up on gaining some creativity cells.  i think they were all gone after my whirlwind summer.

i have started some new boxes this week. they are in the preliminary stages, but at least i have started to work again.  no pictures yet.  they are just beginning.

 the antique mall called me the other day (big surprise) to start collecting some box fodder.  turns out all i bought was things made from wood. as i was standing in line ready to pay for my new wooden stuff, i realized that it has become the most collected thing i have.  except for maybe metal objects.  it may be a tie.

anyway, here is some of my wooden object collection.  many of the items are also in other categories, like miniature houses, santos, boxes, and things with drawers.  i have no idea why i love things made from generations of trees, but it all fits in with my love of anything touched, used, and loved by a human.  


tiny wooden box.  someone fixed it with a wire.  love that!!

doll house chair

wall cabinet with added wire mesh shelf.  other wooden stuff on top!

frame.  thanks tina!!

the virgin mary, sans nose

san raphael.  i like to give my santos some bling!

another virgin mary with wooden rosaries

doll cabinet

hand made house for a train layout?  bricks and stones drawn with graphite

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

scandinavia, part III

we traveled in scandinavia on a very large sailing ship, which was really nice, as the ship is smaller than those of the big cruise lines.  the good part about this is that the ship can get into harbors often too small for bigger vessels.  this was to our advantage, as we were able to see some of the idyllic smaller cities and villages of the region.

the wind surf, still in oslo

we were fortunate to visit the town of stromstad, sweden.  it's just a tiny bit over the border of norway, on the west coast of sweden.  we were only in stromstad for part of one day, and it was a bit rainy.  we still enjoyed walking the cobblestones and taking in the view.  we decided to visit the downtown, and spent our time in the grocery store, toy store, and a local coffee shop.  it was a nice respite from museums and tourist attractions.

the architecture is gorgeous

love the green patina of the copper roof in the distance

pattern everywhere!

color, even on a dreary day

stromstad has been in existence since the 1670's.  it has been a fishing village, and now attracts people to rest on the beaches and eat in the seafood restaurants.  the harbor is dotted with simple outdoor cafes serving up seafood in a no-frills atmosphere.  it's a clean, beautiful, charming, colorful delight to the senses! 

main shopping area

walking path, with accessories

across the canal view of shops