Tag Archives: judging

2016 – The Year in Highlights!


The year is over.

Okay, in many ways, the year was a long one.  I think that happens when you’re learning new things, and I sure did!  But when I think back to December 31 of 2015, it feels like a couple of weeks ago.  Back on that day, I had chosen a word to define what my year would mean, and that was “direction”. Indeed, my year took MANY directions!  It feels like each month brought a new and exciting chapter to my art, so that’s how it’ll be chronicled!

January – When I look back at last January, it comes to me in two words: Individual Art.  I had SO many of my one-on-one classes that month!  It was the perfect way to ease into the year.  I love my Individual Art classes, because not only do I get to hang out with some fabulous people and have them learn or perfect a skill they’ve wanted, but I also learn from them.  I know every teacher feels this way (or should!).  🙂  This month also marked the first time I taught at Moraine Park Technical College for Life-Long Learning!  What a great “first” for me.  SO fun.

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February – I had applied for a Wisconsin Visual Artists show at Villa Terrace back in January, and found out on February 4 that my piece, “Narcissus”, had been accepted!  I was THRILLED.  This was a huge deal for me, as I had just recently started painting and it felt great to have the piece liked enough to be included in this show.  It was a 3-group show called “Making a Scene”.  Definitely a highlight of my year!  🙂


This was an amazing month for another reason, too – my Detritus Project exhibit, which I created and curated, made its debut at the Langdon Divers Gallery inside the Fond du Lac Public Library!  I had the idea for this show way back in 2012, thanks to my great friends at Library as Incubator Project, but it finally became a reality as a community art exhibit in February.  I loved every single minute of this show.  🙂 Check out the AMAZING entries!  😀 This year also marked my second year of curating the Langdon every month.  It’s so great to see all of the different art and artists come through this lovely gallery!  🙂

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March – I was able to be a part of another fantastic show in March, this time with the super-cool Kate Mothes and her amazing youngspace.  This was one of Kate’s pop-up exhibits, which only ran for a few weeks in March at this great space on Main Street in Green Bay.  I feel like this show gave me street cred like I’d never had before!  Such fantastic artists involved, and most were much younger than I am (not difficult, at my age!).   The show was called Remote View and was juried by Kate and Claire Abitz (you’ll hear more about these two movers and shakers later in the year).  AWESOME.  🙂

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April – April brought with it yet another show, this time at one of my all-time favorite galleries, Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake!  The exhibit was called Altered States and the idea was for the artists selected to talk about a point in their art where they made an alteration, or change, in their way of working (or a new technique). My piece, “Fashion Plate”, was juried in!  🙂  I met so many of my Facebook friends this evening, and made some new ones, too!  This was one of those exhibits and evenings that just was so perfect. That same evening I participated in one of Knaak + Juarez Studio’s Blank Canvas events, and began my most ambitious art projects of 2016.  (More on that piece, later!)


May – I had the very distinct honor of jurying the student show at UW-Fond du Lac this year!  It was so fun, and really difficult!  Art professor Wendi Turchan and her students curated this show, and it was fantastic.  We wound up buying five pieces for ourselves!  This was the first time I’d ever juried a student show and the process was a life lesson for me as well.  As artists, we’ve ALL been there, where we either didn’t win an award or just not selected for a show, period.  I’d juried before, but never in person and it really is never about a piece being “good” or “bad”, as there are SO many variables!  You can see here how I had a difficult time choosing the award recipients!

I was also in Stevens Point in May for two reasons – I had a wonderful stint as Artist-in-Residence for Tosha Tessen-McDonald’s art classes at McDill Elementary for three days in the middle of May, and I was also in a show at Riverfront Art Center there called All About Trees!  I felt so welcomed in this delightful town – and what a surprise to run into a former Fond du Lacian, Casey French, who I ran into at the Portage County Library!  He was so kind as to give me a tour of UW-Steven Point’s art department, where his girlfriend was finishing up her art degree.  SO fun!  😀


The last “art thing” to happen in May was a game-changer in my studio…..


(Check here for that blog post!)

June – ….and because I had purchased that game-changing etching press in May, June was ALL about classes on how to use it!  I took three classes in June at Jack Richeson, where I bought the press.  And since I’ve already blogged about it (see the link, above), I won’t rehash, but here’s another monotype I did in the class, which took about two seconds with a Q-tip and two colors of ink.  I can’t wait to delve further into the wonders of this press in 2017!  😀


June also marked the beginning of Pop Up Fond du Lac, a new initiative that promotes “tactical urbanism”.  This group is great!  They have different “pop-ups” all over the city, and the first one was a two-day crêpe cafe in an unused building downtown.  I volunteered to be the curator for art on the walls, so it looked like a “real” café for two days!  I had awesome artists friends involved in the event, and the place looked great!  😀



July – YAY!  July was ALL about papermaking, which is one of my favorite things to do (and teach!).   I taught papermaking at Lakeshore Art Supplies in Sheboygan for a fantastic group of ladies, and I also taught papermaking with plant fibers at my friend Nicole Schauer’s CSA, Good Earth Farm for a group that had amazing ideas!  Then, after nearly three years of planning, the Idea Studio opened in the Fond du Lac Public Library!  This was a huge deal, as it’s one of the most innovative makerspaces in a library in the country.  I demo’d papermaking in the kitchen portion of the space, which as you can see is just incredible.  Everyone loved it!

Brian and I also had a joint show at Ubuntu Art Space!  It’s always fun to have a show but to be in a show with your talented husby?  It’s the best.  🙂 We had our reception during July’s Tour the Town Art Walk in downtown Fondy.  Thanks for having us, Sue!  🙂

August – Well, besides the most amazing week of my art career thus far at my residency at Standard Projects in Hortonville (which I documented here, here, here, here, here, and here), which I seriously cannot overstate what it did for me. I think the other highlight was teaching a solar printing class for some of the residents of Lake View Place, an assisted living/senior apartment complex right here in Fond du Lac.  I had met one of the arts & crafts coordinators at our annual Prairie Fest, and Karen asked me if I did solar printing.  Since I did, I told her I’d love to teach, and I did!  It was a wonderful experience, and as you can see, the residents did beautiful work.  🙂


September – This was sort of my “month off”.  I did a lot of biking this month, because it was SO beautiful.  I did create this linocut, which is actually a little corner of my living room!  I love how it turned out.

Morning Routine

I also taught another of my collage classes at MPTC!  I always have such a great group.


October – this fall was amazingly awesome in terms of the sheer variety of classes, events, and exhibits I was involved with.  October started it out wonderfully!  I led a “Monoprints, Two Ways” class for some of the members of the Fond du Lac Artists’ Association – this was a full-day class where we created monoprints with the Gelli Plate in the morning….

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….and monoprints with my etching press in the afternoon!  I just love what transpired!  😀

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I also taught a Monoprint class at MPTC – the Gelli plate is a wonder, and everyone loves what it can do!  😀


At the end of October, I set up my little corner of the Grand Kakalin in Kaukauna for the “Take me to the River” exhibit/event, which was put together by Jean Detjen.  This was the first time I’d met Jean, although we were Facebook friends before.  What a powerhouse!  It was such an amazing experience.  I can’t wait to work with her again.  And it was so fun to have so many of my Wisconsin Visual Artists – NE Chapter friends involved, too!  😀


November – November was the month of shows! It started out with Warped Milwaukee, which is one of my favorite shows ever.  This was the 6th year that I was a part of it, and I hope to do more!  Here’s the piece that I made for this year’s show, where the theme was “Elements”.  I call it “Wild Calla Lilies”. It’s made with solar-printed fabric and found materials, and then machine-stitched (disregard those grid marks!)  😀


The following week was the reception for “Adornments”, which was a show where I was featured at Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake.  I had a whole wall!!  This is one of my most favorite displays of my work EVER.  🙂 Thanks so much to Pat and Karen Robison for their support!  😀


Later on in the month, I found out that my very ambitious 2-color reduction linocut that I had started in April (and finished in October), “A Canopy of Branches”, made it into the Small Print Exhibition at UW-Parkside!  This is such an amazing show, and it’s the first time I’d made it in! I am really happy about this.  The show starts in January – I can’t wait!

A Canopy of Branches

December – the year rounded out in a really fun way – I taught a holiday card class at the Berlin Public Library….

….and an Encaustic Collage class at the Plymouth Art Center (you can read that blog post here!).  🙂

I also found out I’ll be in two more shows in January! The EcoSquared Show at Hatch Art House in Madison is another of my favorite shows – I’ve been in it 3 out of the last four years.  Here are the two pieces I made for the show!  The pieces need to be square and they need to be created from upcyclced materials.  I made these by printing vintage letterpress plates onto fabric and then embroidering them, and making the “buildings” from old clothing tags.  It was SO fun and I plan on making more!  😀

And last, but CERTAINLY not least – I found out that I was one of the 30 artists for the 30x30x30 show at the Var Gallery in Milwaukee!!  The gist of the show is that 30 artists create a piece a day for 30 days – a great exercise for a humdrum January!  I had an interloper in my photo showing my cut pieces that I’d start this month.  🙂


Today marks my SEVENTH anniversary of being a full-time artist.  When I decided that day to make this a reality, I never would’ve imagined all of the amazing people, places, events, artwork, opportunities and experiences I’d have.  Never in a million years did I think it was going to be this fulfilling, rewarding, tough, and fun.  Here’s to another fantastic year!


Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Hi everyone!

Holy smokes – I seriously CANNOT believe how behind I am on this blog.  This is terrible!  It’s been a whole season since I’ve written.  It was a supremely busy summer, with lots of gallery installations and meetings and fun and art and awesomeness.  This was capped off by an amazing workshop that I just attended, one that was both awe-inspiring… and ponderous.

I had the EXTREME fortune of taking a serigraphy workshop with the incomparable Larry Basky.  For those of you who don’t know who Larry is, he is a master serigrapher (by the way – “serigraphy” is also known as screenprinting, but it’s far more complicated than making t-shirts).  Larry has been making extremely complex serigraphs for over 50 years.  It was an honor to learn from him.  And we learned in one of the most beautiful places possible – the Sinsinawa Mound Center in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, about 8 miles from Dubuque, Iowa.  It’s a HUGE complex that houses the sisters of the Dominican order.  It’s been there since 1848.  It’s absolutely enormous, and it was so peaceful!  All of our meals were taken care of, and we also had these adorable little rooms.

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We worked LONG days!  We began at 9, and except for meals, worked until 9 at night (I did make a small detour to Cedar Rapids, Iowa the first evening to see my wonderful niece, who’s a freshman at Coe!  I was so close, I couldn’t NOT do it!).  🙂  This was definitely a WORKING workshop, not a meet-and-mingle type of thing.

There we seven of us in the class, who ranged in age from 25 to 88.  YES – that is not a typo!  And their work was amazing and wonderful.  And herein lay the conundrum behind the title of this post.

I am a very slow learner.  I also have a very short attention span.  These two things together can be poisonous in a workshop. It was perfect that we worked in a large room with no windows, but there was music playing the whole time, which is killer when you already have a hard time paying attention.  I have this issue in EVERY workshop I’ve ever taken.  Couple that with the fact that it takes me about two days to process information – any information – and I was about two days behind everyone else.

Oh, and most of the women I was there with are exceptionally talented.

Does this happen to you, too?  You’re doing something you love to do (for me, that’s learning more about various art techniques, but it could be anything, really).  You’re learning.  And everyone around you is surpassing you in every way imaginable.  Better designs.  Better colors.  Better grasp of the process.  Better everything.  You take one look at your own work and think to yourself (choose all that apply, and to any career that applies to you):

  • I suck.
  • I should never have quit my job to do this full-time.
  • I should give up being an artist.  What’s the point when everyone is better than I am?
  • I don’t have what it takes.
  • I’m a hack and a fraud, and now everyone will know.
  • All of those good art things that have happened to me – that was just people being nice.
  • I only get art gigs because no one else wants to do them.
  • I only sell art because people feel sorry for me.
  • Maybe I should delete my Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn accounts so that people don’t have to see my crappy work and be compelled to be nice to me

Sound familiar?  Of COURSE these do.  Every single one of us in a creative profession have felt one or more (or all) of these things at one time or another.  I have to believe that it’s almost a given that we’re going to feel this way.  Those of you who know me personally (but not well) may be surprised to hear that I too feel this way – often.  I like to present myself as an optimist and a happy person online and on my social media sites, because that’s generally who I am.  But NO ONE is like that all the time – if we were, we’d be delusional, or not paying attention.  And I do feel it’s really important as artists to lift each other up!  So if you’re feeling any of these feelings, or have felt them in the past, keep this in mind – this too shall pass.  It’s a new day, and a new opportunity to show the world your take on art (or whatever!).

Get back on that horse.  You heard me.  No time to wallow!  The more you tell yourself awful things (like those above), the more you’ll start to believe they’re true, even though they’re not.  And so what if you’re not the best in the class, or in your art group, or hell – even in your town.  I’m not, by a LONG shot.  (If you live in Fond du Lac, WI, you already know this.)  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own fresh take on various art media.  I have sold a lot of art, taught a lot of wonderful people (many who are WAY more talented than I!), and done some good for my art community.  And that’s not nothing.  I’ll keep on chugging along, knowing that I’ll never be the best, but that I’m doing something I love.  And quite often, actually, I’m rewarded for my art in myriad ways.  So today’s a new day, and I’m going to take my newfound education and add it to what I already know.  THAT’S what it’s all about.  🙂

Printmaking Extravaganza!

Holy smokes – I’ve just had the most fun-filled month!  It was filled with an art-packed vacation (more on that in a later post!), some Individual Art classes, two artists’ receptions (more on those later as well) – and I topped it off with a fantastic printmaking class!

My friend Sara, whom I’ve know through various venues in the last decade or so, wanted to host a printmaking class for her friends.  She very kindly asked me to be the instructor.

WOWIE!!!  It turned out to be one of the largest classes I’ve ever held, and one of the most fun as well!  I’ve been so busy with my Individual Art classes (which I ADORE), that I had to switch gears and jump back into the group mode.   What a great group of fun people!  There were a few folks who attended that I already knew but most were new to me, and I was overwhelmed with the incredible work they did!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that we instructors already know – one of the most wonderful by-products of teaching workshops is the inspiration WE get from the folks we’re teaching!  (I hesitate to call them “students”, because we learn as much as they do – maybe even more!)

So without further ado – check out the wonderful work that these NINE fab people created!

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Judging one’s Art

What an interesting week!  I was on the giving AND receiving end of having one’s art juried.  That’s never happened before, and it brought fresh, new perspective to the jurying process!

Any artist who puts him or herself “out there” has been through the jurying process.  And it can be exciting, or it can maybe ruin your day.  Well, allow me to shed some light on the process and possibly help you see what it all entails!

This past Thursday, I was invited by my friend Frank Juarez to help jury a call for artists for his magazine, Artdose Art Guide. In every issue this year (quarterly), there is a different, juried “show” of a different medium.  The current magazine shows excellent photography.  I was one of three artists asked to jury the collage entries.

There were 30 entries from 11 artists.  I honestly (and quite foolishly) thought we’d get through it in an hour.  HA!  The entries were so intriguing, and the work so good, that it was nearly impossible to choose the eight entries.  Eight out of 30!

It wound up taking Cooper Diers and me (and Erika Block, from her satellite location) over 2 hours to decide!  It was agonizing at times!  In the end, the decision was based on so many factors besides whether or not the art was “good”.  How do you eliminate entries when ALL the art was good?

On the flip side, I was also on the receiving end of a juried show.  I wish I could say that it ended well but alas, I judged and was judged.  🙂  Here are the two pieces I entered into a small print show:

IMGP8001    tributary framed woodcut

It was a national show, so I figured that it was a long shot.  They had to choose only 80 prints out of 407 entries!  That means that 327 others got the same news I did.  I’m sure I’m in excellent company.  And I’ll never know how close I came to being chosen.  Maybe it wasn’t close at all, or maybe one of mine was the last one eliminated.  But I do know this – it won’t stop me from entering next year’s show.  Because after this week, I realized first hand that it’s not about how good you are, but what the jurors are looking for.  Maybe someday I’ll get lucky!  😀