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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cross talking Chickens

These two chickens have their own ideas, same language, different visions. 7.5 x 9 inches paint and collage on panel.

I am in a crummy mood or I would write more. There are some great blogs that lay out all the grimness of the soul and let us laugh with the poetry of pain. I can't seem to do more than paint a little picture...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Healthy Being: Table Blessings

Recently I have joined a group of women who are trying to create a healthier world. read about my table blessings on a blog post at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Birdhouses for Indian Rock School

Here is another community project I volunteered to do--- paint birdhouses for the
Indian Rock School
to sell as a small fundraiser.
There are twelve to paint and my goal was to get at least a couple ready for earthday. Today the first and second graders came and planted a tree nursery with Pine Cone Pete and heard stories from School Mistress Joan. It was a beautiful day and a few old time farmers stopped by and enjoyed cookies under the shade of the pavilion. There will be a huge community picnic September 12th. It is always a lot of fun. Come and buy a birdhouse!

Monday, April 27, 2009

How to paint a 25 foot mural in 15 feet of space

Today I painted the day away on the theme of "a night on the town". It was a collaboration with Camille, a young highschool senior who has been assisting me in the studio for a few years now. We had to create a night sky over a city as a centerpiece mural for my son's school auction installation. As you can tell, we used Van Gogh's Starry night as inspiration.
It felt so good to be painting again after a really rough week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Heart suspended with window

The title pretty much says it all. A horrible weekend, and yet- this is supposedly my lucky streak! I shudder to think of the shave with true disaster I must have traveled. The family brushes against mortality and several of us do not hold up our end of bargains. It's easy to blame the mother. (She does it to herself). 9.5 x 9.5 inches paint on paper panel.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Record Review yesterday!

Foxy and her friend Star, came to the slide slam- which was a huge success and gave me the first copy of the article! I am thrilled.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This spring the First congregational church in Poughkeepsie,, sent out a call to artists contesting them to design a creative space within their chapel that reflected the concept of resurrection and new life. First of all I want to thank the congregation and vestry for their vision and generosity in reaching out to artists in this current economy. The idea and the project were heartfelt and inspiring to all, even to those artists who did not submit proposals. Both Michael and I were pleased and stirred by the contest.

The challenge was how to bring in anything that would stand out within the beauty of the arched alter, the glistening organ pipes, and the magnificent stain glass.

It seemed as if very little needed to be done to enhance the spiritual aspect of the church as it is, and whatever we brought in should be as simple as possible.

Our original idea involved an egg suspended over a nest, and since this is still the Easter season, it seemed logical to think of what the egg would bring. By using the Dove we pulled in the iconographic vocabulary of Jesus’ message of Peace, the Holy Ghost, and Moses’ journey to new Life.

The Dove is about 13 feet wide, cut out of four joined together birch luan panels, suspended in a cable ring embellished with “feathers”.  It is painted in an undercoating of a rainbow of colors and subdued with silver and white to enhance the silhouette. Miraculously there was a pulley already installed inside the top of the alter archway. Feeling that the concepts of Peace, new Life, and the Resurrection can be difficult for mortals to grasp, Michael and I offer, as an interactive part of the installation, a few wing feathers for each of the congregation members and visitors to take in hope of inspiring further reflection. The feathers are inscribed with individual biblical passages from Matthew, Isaiah, Luke, and John. They are contained loosely in a nest on the alter.

The project was a joy to work on. We hope you enjoy it and that it inspires all the peace and happiness for you that we felt collaborating on it.

 Tilly Strauss      

Michael Gellatly

 The Dove is scheduled to be on view through Pentecost Sunday. Worship at the FCC is at 10:30am. Visit the website to see the music concert schedule and additional hours.




Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dove above alter

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It's up. Thanks to the help of Pastor Bruce, Suzannah, her daughter, and my collaborator, Michael!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nest of feathers

To go with the large Dove hanging above, a nest on the alter made with weaving twigs, vines, fabric notes and paint holds the wisdom of prophets.  Nearly 100 feathers have been inscribed with ten different Biblical passages from Isaiah, Matthew, Luke and John, and are offered as a gift to the congregation. The passages pertain to Peace. This is the interactive part of the installation- where each viewer must "pluck" a fetahre from the nest and leave with a piece of the art that gives them some deeper thought and inspiration.  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another day in paradise

7 X 9.5 INCHES

paint and collage on panel


MAP birds nest

Everyone has a story, something different to say.
Painted paper on panel- 7 x 9.5 inches

Saturday, April 18, 2009

more painting

It is a painting day....
I am so excited about the development, the colors, the surface, the size!!
Honestly it is hard for me to stop and prepare dinner for the family. I made it to my youngest son's lacrosse game, and enjoyed it once I got there- but putting the brush down was like pulling taffy.

Last night we practised and set up for the April 24th Slide slam at the Pawling Library. It is going to be a fun event. The artists involved are varied and inspired. Please come and join us at 7pm next Friday- each of the 8 artist have up to ten minutes to show you their work. Deborah O'Sullivan, Kate Vrijmoet, Donald Partelow, Layne Clark, Terri Ariano, ERIX, Lonna kelly and I will be doing the entertaining!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The wings of collaboration

It's absolutely brilliant to collaborate with another artist. You get such inspiration and energy from it. Here is how it has gone:
-started with an idea such as- why not an egg and nest? (the contest theme was "new life")
-which led to how about suspending the egg in space and creating a peep hole to look inside it? (we are admirers of Robert Taplin's latest show)
-lets paper mache the egg with maps (after all I have lots of them and assume a new life means a journey)
-lets have the nest twigs also become roads that spread out
- let the twig/roads expand to become wings along the side walls
- what is inside the egg?
- how about a dove!
-why bother with the egg at all?
-lets make a really really big dove!

So here goes!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today was all feathers

Today's daily painting was all about creating 18 inch feathers out of birch luan ply and paint. It's all part of an installation contest for a Congregational church in Poughkeepsie. Last month we presented our plan, along with the other top 4 contenders, to members of the church vestry jury. M. Gellatly and I came up with the winning design which attempts to celebrate "new life, and peace"... As we get into putting the pieces together it is more and more fun- there is nothing I like better than painting large and using a skill saw. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

BRIDGE= It is a jungle out there

playing with maps and narrative...

this one has a special street on the map.

7.5 x 9.5 inches

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

migration maps- Birds on freeway

This 7 x 9.5 inch panel is mixed media- paint and collage. I am fascinated by the way the California freeways swoop this way and that, slinking to the east, merging in the west, splitting up north and linking down south. So many decisions to make this time of year- 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birds and horse

This painting is on a square panel measuring 9.5 x 9.5 inches. I am not sure what I was meant to paint- but when my little sister saw it the other night she told me it reminded her of the news that her horse, Buck, had just passed away. Buck was 29. He ate his breakfast, went out in the field and lay down...
easy and peaceful.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The chicks are in

THE CHICKS ARE in the store! (This is a quick sketch). It's still 32 degrees outside but hope springs eternal.
There is good energy in the world.
When I look at these little guys I make a conscious decision to be joyful. Their curiosity and rapid growth invites respect for the living energy of spring. Living in the country means the signs of new life are everywhere visible. My tulips are about to burst through the brown leaves. My dad stares in wonder at his fields and sees a new calf every day. The neighbor's sheep nurse lambs on each teat. My sons are jumping out of their skins and lacrosse sticks, gloves, and heads adorn every particle of furniture. Soon I will spend weekday afternoons in the thawing landscape applauding each attempt to score or win a face off. Wistful of how fast my sons have grown, I enjoyed the attentions of my four year old niece at lunch. My little nephew, her brother, was baptized today. As a witness, I promised to steer him, whenever possible, towards love and life energizing harmony. It's time to smile.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Playing with cards

I was making a few Easter cards today... feeling crafty, slightly frustrated, and stuck. I did some paint, then collage, then more paint, then pen, all of it a ruse to cover the fact that my eight year old niece could do better... Eliza could probably, in one swift swipe, capture the joy and suffering of this particular season. 
I hope time and perseverance will make things easier. I feel as though I have rubber fingers and lots of piles of this and that to deal with... nothing shines out loud, and nothing moves me. 

Easter Jesus

A Prisma Color meditation
Happy Easter.
Think Spring.

Sometimes I intentionally work in the cheapest materials- such as rolled craft paper here. This way I can just doodle and fill the page without thought of selling. I can work with only the process and the meditative energy as the goal.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Glass half full or half empty- you decide

7 x 9.5 inches

Fishes- Holy food for Good friday

This is a crafty playful project... lets not get too serious!

Papier mache, from the Book of Common Prayer
Feed your soul.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tea pot on table

This has been a painting I have wanted to do since my womenartists@work ladies gathered for lunch at the rooftop Metropolitan Museum restaurant. The colors might be a bit too sober, for the mood was pure Bonnard.
Acrylic on panel 7 x 9.5 inches

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Frog dialogue

6.75 x 10 inches, mixed media paper

Flying inches above the silver blue sheeted surface of the bed, skimming the leafless landscape of anxieties, I pooled in crevasses of anguish, where I fed my starved fears, wallowed in shame, dug up more wiggling distress than a creature should have to handle, was blown away by rifts of bad news, and eventually half-buried under landslides of hurt feelings. My woven heart suspended on a pillow leaked it's juices through the seams and soaked the hills as far as I could see. 
Mercifully I fell back asleep.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Birds Bamboo Refuge

6.5 x 10 inches
maps, ink, pigmented pulp and paint
I was painting this in appreciation for the spot of gold the bamboo leaves lend the winter landscape. I hear them rustle a tinkly dry tune. Birds hide and scavenge for nesting. Nature can expose the seemingly  seasonal and random. This collage seems quite random.
Thought about this yesterday when we all seemed in danger of a stray palm leaf strand grazing our eyeballs (Palm Sunday). Most of us stay in the acceptable crowd and are grateful for obscurity when it comes to infamy and it's price. Only a brave few will listen and hear a call to action. Thank God for them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nest in Clearing

7 x 10 inches, pulp, pigment, maps, paint, ink

It is a week until Easter. My eggs are on my Etsy store and, though they photos look a little blurry- I swear the painting is not. My camera is having a hard time focusing on the round surfaces. Take a peak and if you are interested let me know- running out of time for the holidays...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

TWo birds grieving cut rose

Same methods all week long
- pigmented pulp and flax paper, silkscreen maps and paint. 6 x 9 inches
I am going to the big New York City tonight to see some shows- I am afraid of getting depressed in Chelsea. An extreme possibility because it is April, rainy, and my art seems so far from the hype of what is relevant and showing.
How can I even talk about what I have been doing .... why maps? Bird maps could mean something about flight. They could also be creature messengers of routes. Much of the imagery relies on the viewer to put it together. I like pairings that poetically relate in a transforming manner. After showing 20 samples of my work at the Rosendale slide slam last Tuesday I am more confirmed that ever that my work seeks to reveal (to me) how we move through crisis and grief. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Birds and wild places II


7 x 9.5 inches a little smaller than yesterdays... same technique.
Hmm... playing around in paint, at a loss for titles.
Open to suggestion.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Two birds and cobweb

This is a small mixed media piece I finished today. I used the paper I made last summer at WSW using blue and white liquid pulp and stencils to create a seamless patterned background. A few days ago I played around with messing the surface and adding collage birds (that are actually silkscreen prints on cut maps). Today I painted with acrylics.
Not sure what to call this... the birds are wistful in a wild place, searching, looking, living...
I forgot to measure it as it was drying- so I guess it is about 6 x 10 inches. $150

Grim truths and chopped paintings

This morning- in the fog, on the wet roads above the village, a giant semi tractor trailer truck came jackknifing towards me. He slid by to the side quiet gracefully and perched at a stop, balanced on the steep hillside. No one was hurt. Only the guardrail was crushed. It was in fact my lucky day! And the driver's too.
Still I was shaken up. In the back seat I had 12 of my Antler paintings, intending to show them to a friend that morning. And when I did- I had new eyes to see that these where not the paintings I wanted to survive me if a truck crushed me flat. A dream I had last night has come to mind in vaporous moments with the message that these paintings are not the product. They are one step in the process. So I chopped several of them up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

California map Car Coming and Going

This has more maps of California- Santa Barbara,Los Angeles and all the way east to Pomona, and Claremont. There is a little bit of Costa Mesa, and even the Ontario airport- a sweet little airport, well worth the detour from LAX. Tried to tie in mountains, fairgrounds, and beaches as well as those freeways of popular mythology. I painted this with my sister and brother-in-law in mind. They are inspired by and enjoy all the pleasures of escape that the California terrain offers.
I am most proud technically of the way the shadow turned out.
This girl is going surfing!
5 x 9.75 inches, painted paper on wood panel