Houseplant Hobbyist Checking In!

I haven’t done a houseplant post in a while - so here are a few for you to admire from a recent small photo shoot I did! They are, in order: Aloe jucunda, Aloe cv. ‘Snowstorm’, Deuterocohnia brevifolia, Gasteria cv. ‘Little Warty’, Pinguicula gigantea, and Sarracenia purpurea.

Ash Channeling Cork Bark and Napping

Here’re a couple shots of my gargoyle gecko Ashlar hanging out inside of cork bark. The second photo is post-misting, and you can see that she’s scooted down and compressed a little to avoid directly being spritzed. The third picture shows how extremely variable in color she can be - in this image she’s what’s referred to as “fired down” while in the other two images she’s relatively “fired up,” though she can get even darker! She also has several in-between options to offer, too.

Melting Face Makeup - Happy Halloween!

Here’s my melting face makeup for Halloween, inspired by the ever-amazing Mimi Choi’s version combined with another unnamed artist’s version and my own flair! Happy Halloween!

Upcoming: Small Works Juried All-Media Exhibition at the Northville Art House

Three of my pieces have been accepted into the biennial international juried exhibition SMALL WORKS at the Northville Art House in Northville, MI. They are: Gardens of Memory: London Planetree and Maidenhair, Failed Test 1, and Failed Test 3. According to the exhibits committee, 140 works of art created by 60 artists were selected from 395 entries and 81 artists. All works had to be under 12” in length and width.

Exhibition Dates: November 1 – November 30
Location: Northville Art House, 215 W. Cady Street, Northville, MI 48167
Reception: Friday, November 1 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" NOID Leaf Skeleton

Information is power. I try to ID all of the species I work with, as each species is important and adds layers of meaning and interest to my pieces. Accuracy is equally important however - randomly guessing at species IDs does more harm than good, in my opinion. The first leaf skeleton piece I shared with you, which incorporated a sacred fig or Ficus religiosa leaf skeleton, was identifiable due to its very specific and unusual shape. In this NOID leaf skeleton, however, the shape alone does not sufficiently distinguish the leaf from other trees in the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden. Since it is a skeleton, I also cannot use leaf color, texture, weight, and/or attached branches or flowers to contribute more identification information. Though I researched for some time hoping to find a conclusive match, I eventually had to concede that I cannot definitively identify the leaf species which is what makes it a NOID (a term we use in plant identification that - perhaps obviously - stands for no identification).

This artwork is mixed media including a NOID skeleton leaf, matte medium, and handmade artisanal paper and is 12.5x9.75” (unframed dimensions).

PSLF and TEPSLF Are Still Rejecting 99% of Applicants

When I first wrote about PSLF last November, some of my blog readers/friends/colleagues mentioned that the program had only just opened, that some of the rejections were intentional ones aimed at accessing a different Congressional fund for loan forgiveness, TEPSLF, and that given some time the overall statistics might improve.

Now that another year has passed, that’s not the case.

Upcoming: "Art for the Animals" Kansas City Zoo Benefit Art Show

I’m participating in Art for the Animals, a national exhibition and benefit show for the Kansas City Zoo hosted at Jones Gallery that runs from Wednesday, October 2nd to Thursday, October 24th, 2019, with a First Friday public reception on October 4th from 5 to 9pm. Jones Gallery is in the Crossroads District at 1717 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64108. I’ll be exhibiting Puffinry and Camelflage. If you go, take some photos for me!

New Artwork: Reclamation

I’m interested in starting a new body of work that involves growing aragonite and/or calcite crystals atop various substrates including sculptures, reliefs, and found objects. I am attracted to the conceptual and aesthetic power of nature overtaking manmade constructions. Additionally, aragonite and calcite are the crystallized form of calcium carbonate, a natural material that is the primary component in seashells and corals. Marine animals with calcium carbonate exoskeletons are particularly susceptible to ocean acidification; in order to grow these crystals, I am immersing limestone (which is a sedimentary rock composed of marine skeletal fragments) in acid, so in some ways the growth of these crystals is also a funerary rite for marine wildlife dying to climate change.

Here is the first completed work I’ve done using this medium. I’ve titled it Reclamation, and it is a mixed media relief including QuickCure Clay, QuickCure Glaze Coating, acrylic, aragonite crystals and salt on birch panel. It’s 12x9.25x2”.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Transmigration Landscapes" Failed Tests

I experimented with a number of different chromatography processes to learn which method would be conceptually and aesthetically strongest for my own practice. Two of the failed tests I did were interesting enough in their own right that I kept them, too, though as is evident they use a different technique that proved less effective at pigment differentiation than the process I used for the main Transmigration Landscapes.

These are, respectively, Failed Test 1 and Failed Test 3.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Transmigration Landscapes"

I had my chromatography series Transmigration Landscapes framed right before moving, and so I’ve taken the time to photograph the pieces in their final form! From this Buenos Aires Botanical Garden collection, there are seven framed pieces each containing five loosely grouped chromatography plant portraits. The framed dimensions are 8.875x30”.

These are, in order:
Transmigration Landscapes : Arc
Transmigration Landscapes: Atmosphere
Transmigration Landscapes: Cadence
Transmigration Landscapes: Flare
Transmigration Landscapes: Percussive
Transmigration Landscapes: Reflective
Transmigration Landscapes: Vibration

Upcoming: Artists Who Teach Exhibitions

I had to have a short hiatus from exhibiting due to moving and the resultant lack of a valid return shipping address for a few months… but the hiatus is over, and breaking it is Artists Who Teach, a pair of national juried exhibitions linked to National Arts in Education Week that is hosted at the Ellington-White Contemporary Art Gallery as well as the Fayetteville State University Rosenthal Art Gallery over the course of eight weeks from September 14 – November 2, 2019. Both galleries are located in the city of Fayetteville, NC.

Two of my acrylic paintings were juried in by Shane Booth, Soni Martin and Dwight Smith: Volcanic and City Solstice. Awards will be selected by a separate juror, Willis Bing Davis, at the opening reception on September 14th. Let me know if you happen to be in the area and can check either (or both) of the exhibitions out!

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" Sacred Fig Skeleton

This is one of my favorites (I have several!) of my new pieces from this residency - it’s perfect in its deceptive simplicity. I say deceptive because work went into obtaining the components of this piece, from learning how to make banana paper while on residency in Peru, to sifting through hundreds of fallen leaves in the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden before finding this perfect leaf skeleton specimen, to discovering that the two suited each other beautifully.

This artwork is mixed media including a Ficus religiosa skeleton leaf, matte medium, and handmade banana paper and is 17x11” (unframed dimensions).

The Amazon is on Fire

There is an ongoing, mostly manmade tragedy unfolding right now in the Amazon rainforest in the form of an 85% increase in forest fires over last year. Many of the fires are intentionally being set to clear trees and jungle vegetation - as well as indigenous territories - for agricultural use.

I am reminded of this standalone comic strip, which in many ways seems quite optimistic to me.

Moving to Morningside!

Whew, so I still have quite a number of new pieces to show you from my BROTA residency, but I am interrupting the stream of new art piece posts to share that I have finished moving from Leavenworth, KS, to Sioux City, IA, and have officially started at Morningside College!

From the time when I arrived back to the US in mid-June until the end of July, I drove up to Sioux City a number of times - to scope out the rental market (it’s insanely competitive), to sign the lease on my new house, to accompany the movers, to escort my enormous plant collection, and finally, to move myself and Ashlar the gargoyle gecko. I’ve now been in Sioux City for a little over two weeks, and while there are still boxes everywhere I turn, I’m making progress at unpacking every day and have even started work (though classes don’t start until August 21st).

I’m excited to dive into the vibrant art community both at Morningside and in Sioux City! I also need to get back into my normal exhibition schedule, as I took a bit of a hiatus due to the move and the fact that the return shipping address for the artwork was a big unknown for a while…

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" London Planetree Leaf

And here is another mixed media leaf piece in the overall Gardens of Memory series. This one includes a London planetree leaf, methylcellulose, toner, and acrylic on artisanal handmade silk paper.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Gardens of Memory" Oak Leaf

This is another mixed media leaf piece in the overall Gardens of Memory series. This one includes an oak leaf, methylcellulose, toner, and acrylic on artisanal handmade silk paper.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" Homes

My new photographic transfer technique using methylcellulose and toner doesn’t require a flat surface for the substrate, so I also created this piece Gardens of Memory: Homes. Eventually displayed on a small marble pedestal, it is a mixed media sculpture including a found snail shell, bird’s nest, methylcellulose, and toner. The piece is probably a little larger than you might imagine - its core dimensions without the pedestal are 5.125 x 5.125 x 3.5”. The snail shell is that of an apple snail, so titled because they can grow to the size of an apple. I sold this piece while in Buenos Aires to another artist, the very talented Masako Kano.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Gardens of Memory" Sycamore Leaf Diptych

Here is a new diptych, meaning partner pieces that will always be shown together. Diptychs can also be framed or otherwise physically linked together, too, but in this case I am framing them separately. These are mixed media pieces including sycamore leaves, methylcellulose, toner, and acrylic on artisanal handmade papers. The first paper is a very eco-friendly renewable dyed banana paper that I collaboratively made on a former residency in Peru, and the second is a handmade silk paper from Ato Menegazzo Papeles in Buenos Aires.

Extinctions and Other Sad Environmental News

Here’s a well-written lament from The Atlantic about the ongoing extinctions of a huge number of native Hawaiian snail species.

Zooming out from just Hawaii, here’s a map of how many species are being pushed to the brink globally.

This is a sad photographic illustration of how littering - even when the litter is biodegradable - negatively impacts wildlife.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Gardens of Memory"

As you can see in this earlier post, I worked atop two very large trunk cross-sections for a permanent outdoor installation. I also worked atop smaller trunk and/or branch cross-sections as well. Here are four new pieces in my “Gardens of Memory” series. The series is so titled because the substrate is very directly a part of a once-living tree (paper is too, but in a more distanced form), and the images atop it are from various botanical gardens I’ve frequented.