Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And all I needed was a strong man.

Has anyone used Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty?  Believe it or not, I bought it before I realized how absurd the name was.  Rock Hard?  Oh my!  Isn't that a bit --ahem--risque?  Anyway, we'll see how well it does at patching up the seams in my studio space.  Seems to be doing well thus far.  Tomorrow I finish painting the other wall.  Wish me luck.  I almost passed out from heat exhaustion today, and dehydration--it was a hot one!  Move in is just around the corner, I have to finish asap!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Art Exercises: Ok, these are really weird...

Hug, dearest?  Yes, Please!
I love you!  You too!

This is for you, my love!  Thanks, love!

Let's fly away together!

Usually when I'm creating a piece, the first thing I do is cut up a bunch of little pieces based on texture and color.  With these, I decided to challenge myself by making myself cut out figures out of the magazines instead of squares and triangles.  (Oh gosh, the patience!)  But I did it!  And here's what came out of it.  Yes, they're weird, but I kind of like 'em.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Art exercises: Funny Birds!

I went through an extreme art creation binge before my show in May, and was feeling pretty burnt out after that was done, and had to take some time off (that, and we've been settling into Baltimore!).  But now, I'm getting the artist itch.  I need to make something--and yet--the task of starting one of my large pieces still seems like--well...a task!  One of my collages typically takes days, if not weeks to complete, and it can get tedious and exhausting at times. I obviously need to be easing into it. Anytime I feel like this, I know it's time to do some art exercises.  So, here's what I've been up to: drawing funny birds! And making them quick sketches (only allow myself 5 minutes on the pencil sketch), so that I can be free as a bird and finish quite literally right after I start. The rule is no matter what you have after 5 minutes is what you keep. This time, I allowed myself a few more minutes to apply the watercolor, but next time I'll challenge myself even more by being stringent with a timer!

They're drawn on recycled card-stock (I think it was used as packing materials for something ceramic?) that I've had saved for a long time. Oh gosh, it felt good to spread my wings, make quick brush strokes, feathery pencil marks, and call it a day. These birds were mostly inspired by birds that I saw at the National Aquarium when I went there with my folks in July. I know, it's an aquarium, why were birds the take home inspiration for me? Call me bird brained. Hah. Sorry, ran out of stupid bird sayings. That must mean it's time for me to end this blog. Check back soon. There will be more exercises to come soon!

New studio space

When Peter and I found our house, we were so excited by the great deal we were getting, the area...etc...the only issue was that the studio space would be a tight fit--especially with the direction I've been going lately.  The solution, was that I would get a studio space!  And so last week, I signed a lease on a beautiful art studio space in the Station North Arts and Entertainment district in Baltimore, MD.  

It is housed in the Load of Fun Artists Building.  Check it out, it's been a cool space so far.  I'll keep you posted as I try out this new way of living:  giving myself regular studio hours to follow during the day (so I'm not working there late at night--still not the best area to be after sunset), creating a show space, hosting open studio parties, taking part in the open studio walks that the Load of Fun building hosts in collaboration with a few other arts organizations.  It will indeed be a huge change, and I'm nervous for the extra work that it will be to set up shop and to adapt my routines around it, but I have high hopes that the extra work will pay off in the end.  I'll be having a studio warming part in the not-too-distant future.         

Single Carrot Theatre office is just down the hall!

My studio from the doorway.

It came with a desk and stool! 

Plenty of room to hang my pieces. 

Another nice white wall (after I repaint it) to hang my larger pieces on. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ahh...that's better

No, still no new artwork up yet.  I haven't even started a new piece what with not having a real studio space and all.  But, things are coming along, slowly but surely.

Not a novice to moving around, I still do find this process incredibly tiresome.  I am in the "research" part of the process where I'm having to seek out all of the galleries in the city, find out what they're all about, contact them, find out what their submission process is, and take it from there--find out if I'm a good match.  Alongside that research process, I'm' also trying to find out a little bit more about the studio space option.  Being new to the city and all and still with few friends, it may be a good option as we can build a community from there.  Plus, our house is rather small.  I have doubts that the direction that I want to take my pieces will fit through our stairwell.  So, things are still up in the air.  There are many decisions to be made, and research to be done.

In the meantime, feel free to take a look at the photos of the house (below), check out my new website if you haven't yet:, and please let me know if you know of anyone in the Baltimore area that would know of the art studio situation.  I still haven't quite made that connection here yet.  Thanks for reading!

The living room, front window and front door.

Hallway to kitchen, view of the back door, stairs to 2nd floor.

Exposed brick wall with view to kitchen and stairs.

Kitchen, back window and door.

Kitchen sink, and the hallway back to the livingroom.

Stairs to the 2nd floor.

First bedroom (facing backyard)

Second bedroom (facing street)

Bathroom, and view of first toilet.

Mini hallway past the tub (on the right).

View of second sink, bathtub directly to the right.

And the second toilet.

View from the other side of the bathroom.  Yes, you've got it.
Two toilets in one bathroom!  Hot commodity here!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ACK?! What happened to my lovely blog?!

Somehow I accidentally upgraded my blog to the new interface that blogger is pushing.  What I thought was a preview was actually a permanent change, so bear with me as I deal with this unexpected change...

Sometimes change is good, right?

Here are some jellies at the National Aquarium, if it helps.  (I know it helps me...)

Excuses, excuses, excuses...

No, there's no new artwork.  But I have so many excuses!  Let me list them all (it will also be a good way to get y'all up to speed):

1.  We moved to Baltimore, MD on June 1.  Look at the skyline.  Pretty, huh?  Almost like looking at artwork, right?

Charm City!
2.  We had a wedding celebration for the two of us 2 weeks after we moved Baltimore and had friends and family in town for a while.

3.  I then worked diligently on upgrading my website to the new website: (which is--for me, an artform in itself!  I even hooked it up to Paypal so you can buy artwork online!).

The new website.  Check it out!  
Our house!  Baby blue, I love you, you smell like poo...

4.  We bought a house!

5.  We found out that the basement of the house is full of mold!

6.  We found out that the weird smells coming from the basement is probably sewer leakage from a broken pipe!

7.  And the roof is leaking!

8.  Etc...the house needs work.

Welcome to homeownership, eh?  No worries, we knew the house needed work when we bought it, so no real surprises (except for the fecal matter in the basement...ok...there aren't actually solids, I'm exaggerating...but still.  Gross.).  I'm actually planning on starting another blog designated purely for the work that we do on this house, so I won't go too far into it here...

So, the plan is that we move in at the end of August.  And in the meantime I will be looking for a studio to show my work and to hopefully have more space to spread out.  I'm hoping to get large with my pieces in the future.  If anyone knows about the Galleries in Baltimore, please let me know where I should be looking.  I'll be doing research myself, but it's always good to have the "inside scoop."  Thanks for reading, visit back soon, I'm sure I'll have more for ya!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reclaimed Art, my exhibit at the Flood Gallery Fine Art Center May 3-28, 2012

Flood Gallery Fine Art Center’s newest exhibit, Reclaimed Art, presenting the work of local mixed media artist, Katie Chen, will be on view through May.  The opening reception will be on Saturday, May 5, 2012, from 6 pm-9 pm. True to the title of the show “Reclaimed Art,” Chen tries to limit her medium to only reclaimed materials—obtaining most of her materials from the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, the curbside, or through donation.  Instead of using toxic paints, solvents, and new canvas materials, the tiny pieces of color and texture she cuts from the pages of these donated magazines become her color palate, and the reclaimed wood board becomes her canvas.  Amazingly, the result ends up looking very similar to an abstract oil painting.  “I’ve had many people ask me what kind of paint I use,” Chen laughs.  “They’re surprised when I tell them that they’re looking at tiny pieces of magazines.”  

A woman with many interests and talents, Chen is also a classically trained singer, and holds a degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University.  Ultimately, it was while she learned how to design and write for magazines, that she also saw the potential for their pages to be a “green” art medium with the use of scissors.

If you want to go:  Reclaimed Art, works by Katie Chen at the Flood Gallery Fine Art Center, May 3-28, 2012.  Art opening reception on Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 6 pm-9 pm.  Flood Gallery Fine Art Center located in the Phil Mechanic Studios Building at 109 Roberts Street, Asheville.  (828) 254-2166.  For additional information please visit

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boobalicious Breastfeeding Hat!

I saw a hat like this one online a while back, and decided right then and there that I needed to make one!  I think this will be my trademark gift for all of my many friends who are giving birth this year.  I was excited to find the exact colors in a organic soft cotton yarn at the local yarn shop, and to create my own original pattern to use for all of the babies to come!  This one went to my friend who is expecting a baby boy this July! 

PS.  Hopefully you "get" it.  When the baby wears it when he/she is nursing, it looks like you are exposed, and have a very gigantic boob!  Hilarious!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Plants, plants, everywhere! (Yum yum yum yum yum)

She's cute, isn't she?  So sweet and innocent, curled up in a little ball...awwww...But don't let her fool you!!!  She's actually truly vicious; with tearing claws, gnashing teeth, a ferocious devouring stomach--you should be very scared!!!

...if you're a plant.  

Yes, folks.  Kitty is a plant killer.  And I've learned the hard way.  I've been brought close to tears when I've gone to check on the little tiny plant-ling that I've been caring for, nursing along--only to find it gone--absolutely and entirely eaten.  And Kitty nearby purring with pleasure.  Plant-lings are her favorite.  And the jade plants; must be a texture thing.  

Anyway, first reacting with sadness and pity ("why me--why do I happen to adopt a plant-eater-cat?!?!?!"), I changed my approach and turned it into a project.  To try and find the answer to the question:  how to keep Kitty from eating my plants.  Extra challenge:  unlike dogs (the animal I'm more accustomed to), kitties can jump--high--making the usual solutions like "put it on the shelf" still unusable.  

Here's what I came up with:  A terrarium, and hanging plants in jars!

Any other solutions out there?  Please and thank you!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

For the Meow: Catnip filled mouse!

This project was inspired by some mice created by the ladies at Foundry in Asheville, NC.  I wish you could see the originals (maybe they've posted them on their website?)--they're beautiful!  Handcrafted out of fabric samples, they actually look like cute little mice (ears and all!).  As for me, I didn't have nearly the patience enough to even challenge my sewing skills (3D sewing is not my forte), so I based my little mouse on--well, a mouse that you might use with a computer.  It's hip to be square, right?

Made of reclaimed fabric, and filled with organic catnip.  $5 plus shipping.