Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I am afraid of making mistakes.

I tell my artist friends, There are no mistakes! And then I'm still afraid of making mistakes.

So then I don't take risks and I stick to what I know, because the other option -- the possibility of mistakes option -- is so uncomfortable.

What a waste of time.
What a waste of paint.
This is not going to go anywhere.
This doesn't mean anything. 
What are you even doing.


An old friend of mine once said, "you'll know it's exciting because it will feel exciting."

Let the excitement be bigger than the fear. 


Sunday, October 30, 2016

contest winners!

and the winners arrrrrrrrrrrrrre...

4. Sreya Shepard

6. Alana

19. Becktoria

Congratulations! You've won an 8x10" portrait for the sale price of $150. Send some images to, and I'll get started soon.

Thank you to everyone who commented, and don't be shy -- the regular price for these portraits on paper ($250) is still a bargain! 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

holiday sale!

Portraits of your kids, parents, pets, or friends make amazing and lasting holiday gifts!

I'm holding a contest for the chance to win an original 8 x 10" painting (in oil, on archival paper) of the subject of your choice, at the promotional price of $150 / £120 (normal price is $250 / £200).

I will select three names at random from the comments, and the winners will be announced Sunday, October 30th!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

tuning the strings

No I will NOT do that thing where I diddle around on the internet for an hour at night and stop, feeling guilty and empty and fried-eyed... OH CRAP. Already did it.

How do I untangle all the thoughts that are in here? How do I find in me the thought that is authentic, and not just a reaction or a snarky riff on someone else's reaction? The cacophany is deafening.

I spent lovely weeks in Michigan, especially at the lake: perfect weather, pampered by grandparents, no wi-fi. All the usual hang-ups of whiny kids, difficult bedtimes, but ohhhhhh that lake, and that sand. It was all worth it.

Now back in Oxford, trying to get back in to some semblance of a rhythm with work and school and baby. Trying as usual to get my head around our situation, our finances, our general trajectory.

And how shall I find other artists? And how shall I make money making art? And how shall I make art that reveals my heart and my politics and my determined urgent ferocity? How shall I assemble all the pieces so that the whole makes a loose and poetic and insouciant kind of sense?

God help me! I am your instrument: I will tune my strings and not waste their resonance in the void of the internet.


Monday, September 12, 2016

nancy jean

Clearing away some cobwebs, trying to make time at the easel, trying to find the rhythm of work with an 8-month old baby: things don't usually get done on time, in the right order, or according to plan. I approach everything with the same sleep-deprived urgent ferocity: sew Auden's Halloween costume, make list of portraits to paint, get into fights with racist strangers on Facebook, MAKE DINNER. 

Instead, here's a piece I did last winter and never got around to posting:

It's much bigger than my usual portraits, so I mapped out a grid on the canvas to render the composition. My first layer of flesh tones was a bit too green or gray or just kind of sickly-looking...

But the next layer resolved nicely:

"Nancy Jean"
Oil on canvas

I was so taken with the tiny brightness of pink in her lip, and how it echoed in her cheek and above her eye. I wanted everything to hinge on that. It's funny how the most important part of a painting takes the lightest touch. 

Maybe I'll apply the same wisdom to my to-do list.


Friday, May 20, 2016


I'm excited to announce the opening of my art show this weekend, in the Churchill Hospital's South Street Gallery!

It is a huge long corridor, so I am throwing every canvas I have into it to fill it up... both portraits and abstracts, large and small. I haven't had a show for years, so I am tripping over my nerves and my self-doubt. But! Proceeding nevertheless, because this is how you learn.

Last month my dad & step-mom were here for a visit, and I tasked them with building frames for all my wonky imperial-sized canvases (custom frames would have been ridiculously expensive) (even standard frames are ridiculously expensive). 

They cranked out more than 10 in a few short days, but I still had a few more to finish after they left.

But the efoort was worth it: they turned out so simple and pretty.

There will be brand new pieces, and some from the vaults:

If you're in Oxford or know someone who is, come see it and spread the word!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

catching up

Why does this go so impossibly fast?

In the midst of those early weeks, in painful early mornings, I was somehow afraid of this tiny baby, and only looked forward to longer stretches of sleep, plump thighs, open eyes, smiles and burbling coos. Getting into some kind of rhythm. But now of course I am already heart-achingly nostalgic for that wide and raw and delirious landscape that I can never visit again. Sweet newborn, what a convoluted blessing!