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Preview: Curious Art

Curious Art

Curiouser & curiouser! That's what's painted on my studio door...

Updated: 2017-06-21T22:18:35.040-04:00


Voyage to a New Blog


I'd like to invite you all to travel with me to my new "official" blog! Actually, it isn't new at all-- over six months old-- but I wanted to work out a few bugs before I made the formal move.

I think things are in order now, & with the end of the AlphaBots project, this seems like a good time to travel onward. I won't take this blog down, but probably won't be updating it, so I do hope you'll join me over there. You'll see a lot of duplicate content from the last few months at the moment, but I promise there will be new stuff coming soon!

Imagination in Lee Hansley Gallery


Once again I'm very happy to be a part of the Lee Hansley Gallery's One Hundred Under 1000 Show! This piece (originally created for AlphaBeasts on my Oddments blog) is on display there along with three other acrylic/mixed media works created in 2012.

Lee Hansley Gallery

225 Glenwood AvenueRaleigh, NC 27603 get directions
(or by appointment)


Gallery Hours
Tues - Fri:
11am - 6pm
First Friday:
11am - 10pm
11am - 6pm

The Old Man Lives!


Yes, it's real! You may remember seeing a few of the illustrations for this book as I painted them-- some here & some on my process blog, Curious Art Lab. Well, the book isn't quite out yet, but the advance copy is! Below it is the original acrylic painting for the cover for comparison. As you can see I like to work actual size.

The book is due out next month, & I'll be sure to let you know!

Some originals from the book will be on display at the Cabarrus Art Council, Concord, NC, October 22 - December 20, 2012. More details on that soon.

Curious Art on Hi-Fructose Blog!


I'm very excited to be featured today on the Hi-Fructose blog, with several images and an interview by Nathan Spoor! Thanks, Nathan & Hi-Fructose!

Curious Art on A Word A Day!


I'm thrilled to be featured all this week on the wonderful vocabulary/ etymology site A Word A Day! I'll be illustrating each word with a "curiotype" (figurative letter) initial on a background of dictionary text.

This is for today's word, "redolent."
Acrylic on text on canvas, 6"x6"

Prints & original will be available in my brand-spankin'-new Etsy shop!!!

Hegemony @ Hansley


If you'd like to see this fat cat & his overworked minions in person, you can do so at Lee Hansley Gallery's 100 under 1000 show, through 31 December 2011. 225 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh NC 27603. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Acrylic on text on canvas, 6"x6"

Regional Artist Showcase Exhibition


Two of my mixed media pieces, Shellbound & Victor's Victim, will be part of the Regional Artist Showcase Exhibition, 26 August - 18 October 2011 in the Betty Ray McCain Gallery at The Performing Arts Center, 2 East South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. I'll also have my very first animation attempts on view for the artists' reception Tuesday, 18 October, 5:30 – 7 p.m. (I plan to be there as well.)

I hope you can come! For more information, call 839-1498 ext. 301 or visit

Return of the Shadows


(image) This is a fairly ancient piece & some of you may have seen it before, but I couldn't resist pulling it out again for this week's IF prompt, "Shadows." I think any illustrator will recognize the subject!

Acrylic on paper, 6"x9" Please click for a closer view... there's a lot going on in the border!

Voyage to Another Bloglet?


(image) For reasons best left to psychiatric specialists, I've decided to start yet another blog! This one is called"Oddments & Curiosities." It will post on odd days, & feature odd creatures such as those you see here. Or completely different-- I really have no idea. You'll have to follow to find out! ;-)

Audience of Two


This is another illustration-in-progress from the book I'm working on. The old man has found his flute at last & plays it, hoping to bring the missing wildlife back after a lonely year. (See my previous post here, Only Waiting.)At first he heard nothing. Then suddenly two small brown birds flew out of the forest & circled his head. The old man was delighted. Perhaps more will come, he thought.Acrylic on text & maps on canvas, ~7x10"detail of the full painting, which is 9x12".From The Old Man and the Cat, by Anthony Holcroft, to be published in 2011 by Penguin NZ.It occurred to me as I was painting this that every artistic creation is a similar cry in the wilderness... hours of solitary work, never really knowing whether the result will touch others...Recently I've felt this way even more than usual since I've been spending so much of my time on this book. Almost done now, but it has been a very long stretch devoted to a project that won't reach its audience for some time yet.So I was particularly grateful this morning to find this lovely message from Linda Hensley:Hi! I think you're pretty stylish and I have an award for you! Please visit me, where you may find it and share with other blogging friends! That's why I'm posting this image here, instead of on my process blog where I'd normally show it. (I'm really not satisfied with it yet & I'll be making several changes, but it does seem appropriate for the occasion.) It's awfully nice to know someone is out there! Thank you, Linda!So, on to the award. I'm supposed to tell seven things about myself.1. I'm a mother of twins, & when the boys were little, they had their own language. They also spoke English, luckily, but often veered off into realms of unknown vocabulary. It was fascinating but also rather frustrating, since they refused to translate. Once they started school, the Bipper language (as we called it, after the most frequently used word) slowly faded away.2. I'm obsessed with hoop dance. I re-learned to hula hoop in 2009, & it's become my favorite way to work out the kinks after being curled up like an overcooked shrimp all day at the drawing table. If you don't know what hoop dance is, check out the links below.3. I've always loved animation, & this year I've been awarded a grant to learn Flash! I'm very excited about it. The idea of making my creatures move tickles me no end. I won't be starting the class until the book is done, but when I start animating I'll be posting my efforts on yet another blog, Curious Illumation. Yes, I know, I'm not so great at keeping up with the blogs I already have. But I thought there should be a separate place for these motion experiments. Have you guessed that I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive?4. Speaking of which, I love boxes. And tins. And baskets with lids. And cabinets with cubbyholes or tiny drawers. And old type cases. Being a collage artist, a collector of oddments & curiosities, & a dabbler in many crafts, I have a lot of small objects & supplies that need organizing. And I love containers that are pleasing objects in themselves. I even miss old library card catalogues, though I admit the computer does a much better job of indexing.5. Despite my love of order, I can be very, very, very messy (especially in mid-project). Oh, really very messy. You can't imagine the chaos. Somehow I'm completely unaware of the havoc that surrounds me until the project is completed & then it always comes as a shock to look around & see the devastation. It's a little like Dr. Jeckyll waking up after a night as Mr. Hyde.6. I can also be very, very, very silly. It's a family tradition. I have a large extended family, & you should see us at family gatherings, unless you hate seeing people getting silly. Bad puns & non[...]

Voracious does some Word Processing


(image) Here's an image you may have seen before: Voracious, a painting I did in 2008 for Cameron Village Library in Raleigh. The library kindly lent it back to appear in a group show opening 18 January 2011 at the Cabarrus Arts Council. (I have 9 pieces in the show.) If you are in the Concord/Charlotte area, please drop by! The show will be up until 10 March 2011.

Cabarrus Arts Council facebook page

The Cabarrus Arts Council welcomes you to our first exhibition of 2011, Word Processing. Artists use text, letters and words as texture and design to deliver their points of view. Ceramics, paintings and installations are featured in this exhibition. Free and open to the public, as always.

The Galleries, 65 Union Street South, Concord NC

10 am - 4 pm, Monday through Friday

Happy New Year!


(image) Wishing you all the perfect mixture of madness, music & merriment!

Acrylic on text & maps on canvas, 4x4" detail of the full painting, which is 9x12".

Detail from The Old Man and the Cat, by Anthony Holcroft, to be published in 2011 by Penguin NZ.

Things To Come Opening Reception


I'm so excited to be a part of this show!

Goodly Creature


(image) Usually putting down roots implies immovability, but if you look closely at this fellow's roots, you'll see that doesn't always apply!

I've just completed Goodly Creature for the Things To Come show, opening 9 September 2010 at Bold Hype Gallery in NYC. (I'll post the show details shortly.)

Acrylic on texts & diagrams (from various antique sources) on canvas, 18x24" total assembled dimensions (6 6x6" canvases).

Please click on the image for more details, & if you'd like to see still more, I've been blogging about the creation of this piece in my new process blog, Curious Art Lab. Please have a look over there if you're curious about the concepts & techniques behind my work!


Curious Art Lab


(image) I'd like to invite you all over to my new process blog, Curious Art Lab, where much will be revealed anon.

Only Waiting


(image) Another illustration in progress from The Old Man and the Cat by Anthony Holcroft (see earlier posts). Here all the wildlife has vanished, & the old man is left to carry on alone with his dreary tasks.

Acrylic on collaged maps & texts from antique sources, on canvas, 9x12" Please click on the image for details & to find the hidden cat.

New Year's Wish


(image) Wishing all of you a year of wildness, wonder & peace.

Illo from The Old Man and the Cat, by Anthony Holcroft, to be published by Penguin NZ.

Acrylic on text & maps (from antique sources) on canvas, 9"x12".

LOST Eyelander


(image) This piece has been in the works for a long time, but could only be unveiled now that the show has opened. It was a very hush-hush affair! Gallery 1988 contacted me a while back with an irresistibly secretive invitation to participate in a show-- no details except that it involved custom toys & had something to do with an ABC tv show. I said yes mainly because my curiosity was piqued, but when I actually got the show information, I could hardly believe my luck.

You see, I don't watch tv much at all (in fact I don't have one that works) but I'd heard so much about LOST that I'd checked it out on Hulu & I was seriously hooked! How's that for an amazing coincidence? I thought it was downright LOSTworthy!

The LOST Underground Art Project at Gallery 1988 in LA. 15 through 24 December 2009. Acrylic, text, maps & gold leaf on resin statue (statue provided by the gallery).  (A news report on the show.) SOLD

Please click to see details, & forgive the focus issues... it's hard to get a good scan of a 3d object! p.s. This is just one statue-- the four views are so you can see all the details.

EDIT: For those who are coming here in 2012 from Illustration Friday, the show is long past, but I couldn't resist posting this for the LOST prompt!

Magical Music


(image) This is my first illustration for an upcoming picture book, The Old Man and the Cat, by Anthony Holcroft, to be published in 2011 by Penguin NZ. I've decided to post some of the illustrations here rather than creating a separate blog for them. They will not be in order, but rather haphazard as is my nature!

In this image the old man has just discovered that the flute he carved has the power to summon birds and other creatures.

Acrylic on text (including diagrams, illustrations, and musical notation) and maps on canvas, 9"x12"

"Old" & News


(image) This is a very old illo, one I did over 10 years ago for Cricket magazine. But in addition to fitting the "skinny" prompt, it's related to some wonderful news!

The story this illustrated was "The Old Man and the Cat," by Anthony Holcroft. I've always loved this gentle, yet dramatic tale, so I was thrilled when Anthony asked me if I would be interested in doing illos for a picture book version of the story! It is to be published by Penguin New Zealand (Anthony is a New Zealand author).

I'm thinking about setting up a blog for the book & posting some of the illos, which will be done in the collage & acrylics of my more recent work, but with characters based on the original Cricket illos.

Watercolor and colored pencil on paper, about 3.5"x6"



(image) I've been working on this piece on & off for nearly a month in between deadlines... just like this poor creature I'm desperately eager to get moving, but my progress is oh so s l o w...
if only we were both better adapted for speed.

Acrylic on text (from Steele's Fourteen Weeks in Physics, 1878) & star map (from 1906 Chambers's Encyclopaedia) on canvas, 12"x12" Please click for details.

Shellbound will be in my upcoming show at the Block Gallery (Hargett Street, Raleigh NC) 4 June-28 July. It's called Picturing the Fantastic & includes 22 pieces of mine as well as the wonderfully weird work of Tisha Edwards Weddington. Her paintings are HUGE while mine will be accompanied by magnifying glasses (really!)-- I think the contrast adds a delightfully vertiginous Wonderland effect. Thanks to Sarah Blackmon for putting this together!

Running Slowly


(image) The dodo: a fleeting presence on this planet, but apparently not very fleet of foot.

According to my trusty 1878 Chambers's Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, "The birds were easily killed, being wholly unable to fly, and running slowly. Their speedy extinction after the islands began to be visited and settled, is thus easily accounted for."

Maybe it was the shoes?

Acrylic on text & map of Mauritius, 4x5"

Victor's Victim


(image) Acrylic on text (definitions of victim & victor from an old dictionary) on Victor brand rat trap.

We actually bought the trap late last Summer when hordes of enormous rats invaded our neighborhood (after the closing of the local pizza place & consequent dearth of dumpster delights).

I just couldn't bring myself to use it for its intended purpose. I thought about live traps, but then what??? So I quit composting food scraps instead... it seemed to discourage them, at least temporarily... but they're seasonal, right? (Squirm...)

Anyway, one day as I was contemplating the trap & wondering if I was a hopeless softy, I realized what I really wanted to do with it.

The Barking of Trees


(image) In the winter I always find myself looking at bark... none of the usual colorful distractions! I love its strange (& intricate) contours & crevices.

I'm not quite so fond of barking dogs, but one appeared in my sketchbook one day growing out of a dogwood stump, & I just felt like painting it.

Browsing an 1878 encyclopedia for text to use in the background, I was thrilled to discover instructions for the barking of trees! The phrase actually refers to the harvesting of bark, but the article gave me both background & title for this painting.

Acrylic on text on canvas, 9x12"-- please click for details.

Oh! I almost forgot. This piece will be at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh. I'm one of the featured artists in the Exchange gallery for March. I'll be at the opening on Friday the 6th (First Friday).

Escape Artist


(image) This is one of my very first "curiollages" from a couple of years back. I turned to this crafty art form after a long stretch of working digitally, out of frustration with the coldness of the computer. I remain entranced by the amazing possibilities of Photoshop, but after doing nothing else for a while, I was desperate for the tactile pleasures of stuff. So this is a sort of self portrait (yes, my torso is actually a used up paint tube! You didn't know?) showing my climb back onto the paintbox & away from the computer monster. (He's made from an old disk & a circuit board, plus paint & polymer clay, with a bit more electronica thrown in there...) Please click for a closer view.

Polymer clay, acrylic, collage & found objects on stretched canvas, 5"x10"