Monday, April 28, 2014

I Wish You Wouldn't Care More Often

"I Wish You Wouldn't Care More Often" 20" x 16" oil on canvas. 2014.
Every Sunday night, my portrait painting group gets together. We've been doing this for over a year now (See August 2013 post). I generally have just been painting fairly traditional portraits each month as the model poses for 3-4 weeks for a few hours at each session. I haven't really viewed the nights as anything more than just "practicing" and also having fun with other artists.

Well, naturally, I ran out of canvas pad paper and was running late to our last month's session. So, I just grabbed an old painting that didn't turn out and begun painting over it. I have done that before (see Sept 2012 post) with really fun and surprising results, but had sort of abandoned it when I needed to get a serious body of work finished.

Since this group is just about having fun. I simply painted over the old painting only using a palette knife. Needless to say, my new "style" was surprising for the other artists. My friend came up and almost gasped and then laughingly said "WHAT is going on HERE?" I told her I am just going to have fun now because I really just don't care.

Her reply was "I wish you wouldn't care more often". Seemed like an appropriate title to me!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bodies of Work: A Collaboration Exhibition & Reading

Bodies of Work: A Collaboration Exhibition & Reading
One-night only: April 21, 2014
Apollon Omaha, 1801 Vinton St., Omaha, NE

If you missed the original airing of my interview, you can listen to the mp3 of Bodies of Work on KIOS-FM, Omaha Public Radio and Michael Lyon.


Before reading the details of the art exhibition and event, I would be remiss to not mention photographer, Greg Higgins, who attended the event, took photos and captured the entire night with his camera. Every image on this blog posting was taken by him. He always attends our Drink N Draw sessions and captures images of the models for us to use later to finish our paintings. I am appreciative of Greg's continued support of Omaha artists, both writers and visual artists and his involvement and selflessness in allowing us to use his photography to help share our art. So, thank you, Greg.

About the Show:

Collaborative Series: Poet Fran Higgins, body-artist Sally Deskins and figurative artist Rachel Mindrup come together to create a series of mixed-media work that explores body image, art history, womanhood and motherhood, furthering their “Mother-Artist” project originally debuted Feb. 2013. The trio of artists started with Deskins’ acrylic body-painting; “Inspired by Yves’ Klein’s Anthropometries, I take a feminist approach, as artist, model and director, examining how our outside selves both hides and radiates our mind,” describes Deskins of her approach. Thereafter, Mindrup was given the twenty large works to draw on at her discretion; “Usually I spend so much time painting figures, paying attention to every resolute detail; with this series, I wanted to draw quickly to echo Sally’s swift body-printing method, and I kept seeing these mythological characters, coming in and out of the body parts like the bodies represented a whole world,” describes Mindrup. Mindrup then passed the work onto Higgins who, penned ekphrastic poetry on each, based on her own perspective, displaying irony, hilarity, and sometimes raw truth on the female, motherhood, and human experience.

Intimates & Fools: Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. The book is published by Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014 and is available on 
Rachel Mindrup is a professional artist and art educator. Her current painting practice is about the study of the figure and portraiture in contemporary art and its relation to medicine. Mindrup’s client list includes: Kiewit Corporation, Boys Town, Creighton University, Boys Town National Research Hospital, and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Her artwork is held in many private collections including those of Primatologist Jane Goodall and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Fran Higgins earned her BFA, graduate certificate in Advanced Writing,and a Masters in English from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her work has appeared in Plains Song Review, Celebrate, SlipTongue, NEBRASKAland magazine, and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets. 
Sally Deskins is an artist and writer, focusing on women and feminist writers and artists, including herself. Her art has been exhibited in galleries in Omaha, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago; and has been published in publications such as Certain Circuits, Weave Magazine, and Painters & Poets. She has curated various solo and group exhibitions, readings and performances centered on women’s perspective and the body. She edits the online journal Les Femmes Folles, has published three anthologies of art and writing and her first illustrated book Intimates & Fools, with poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, was published in Jan. 2014.
Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins, as well as two letterpress books, and eight chapbooks, including Spindrift (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). She is also the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013).

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded by Sally Deskins in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, books and public events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). Les Femmes Folles Books is a micro feminist press that publishes 1-2 titles a year by invitation. Other books include Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2011, 2012 and 2013, also available at this event and at
The Apollon is Omaha’s multi-genre arts and entertainment hub where all are welcome to indulge their tastes in a place of welcome and warmth. The Apollon experience is co-created by a vibrant, well-supported arts community and an equally vibrant, well-rewarded audience.

Drink n Draw Omaha is a socially creative event inviting artists (painting, sculpting or drawing) to come and practice their craft inspired by two professional art models. Cost is just $5 for artists 19+. Bring your own supplies and take advantage of APOLLON’s beverage service. No photography permitted. More information at

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Case Study #9 - Meg Embracing Miles

"Meg Embracing Miles" 30" x 24" oil on canvas
I met Meg on Facebook back in 2010. I painted her portrait (pictured below) as one of the very first in my Many Faces of NF series. Later she asked me if I could help her out by painting the portraits of three children living in an orphanage in Nicaragua. I agreed to help out. Truthfully, I can't imagine what life in an orphanage is like, but I'm guessing they could use all the help and donations as they possibly can get. So, it was no trouble at all for me to be able to help her out with her request as she provided many photos of the children and let me decide which ones to paint. The portraits were then auctioned off and the money raised went to support the kids. 

Meg sent me her story to accompany the first portrait, in her words:

30" x 24" oil on canvas - underpainting
"I was diagnosed with NF as an infant. My case was caused by a spontaneous mutation, neither of my parents have NF and nor do my younger brothers. For the most part I had a pretty normal childhood, other than having a large tumor on my lower back that was extremely painful when bumped, and also one on my foot. When I was 8, I had major surgery to remove both tumors. My parents had shielded me from the seriousness of the surgery and the fact there was a chance I would not walk again after the surgery, but I did know that without the surgery I would eventually be paralyzed. The following summer, though, was when things really changed for me. Our local newspaper ran an article about Neurofibromatosis and used my family as the subject. The unfortunate title of this article was "Living with Elephant Man's Disease." For the next several years I was teased and called names like "Elephant Girl." It was really the first time I had felt "different" because of my NF. The worst part of growing up with NF before the Internet Age was not really knowing anyone else who had NF, other than the people I would see once a year when my parents would host a cookout and raffle for NF. 

2011 Watercolor and Wax
In spite of challenges like that growing up, as well as several more surgeries, I lead a pretty normal and fulfilling life. I graduated High School with an Advanced Diploma, went to Virginia Tech and graduated with a BA in Communication Studies and minors in Theatre Arts and Liberal Arts, have a job and am active in my church where I volunteer with our Preschool Sunday School, sing on the Music Team and am involved in our Women's Ministry and Missions Ministry. I have been to Nicaragua 14 times since 2003 to volunteer in an orphanage, and have more trips planned. I have also met so many amazing friends through Facebook who have NF, or whose children have NF and am so grateful for the support and friendship that has grown, even though many of them I have never met in person. I pray every day that we will have a cure for NF some day. The sooner the better!"