medium /// drawing

“ufos, diaries & underdogs”


I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I managed to get American artist Esther Pearl Watson on the podcast. Actually I know exactly how I did it … I asked Martha Rich to ask her for me. Worked like a charm. I have been a huge fan of Esther’s for years, and finally met her a few weeks ago in New York. I was nervous and intimidated… until she opened her mouth. I quickly realized that she was hilarious, really nice, and actually a little bit shy herself. Esther’s story is amazing… she had a very unique childhood, to say the least, and it fuels much of her current work. Anyway, I’ll stop typing so you can start listening. Hit play right up there under “Looking for the Swimming Hole at Dinosaur State Park”, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorite pieces from her painting portfolio. Esther refers to them as memory paintings, and I called them “postcards from childhood”:


Amazing. Instead of sunny, perfect childhood memories, Esther illustrates the darker side… you know, things like “Before the Landlord Finds Us” {you’ll have to listen to find out why there are so many UFOs in her paintings}. Part of the reason I think she’s such a creative genius is because of the way she recognizes / embraces her experiences, good and bad, and turns them into creative projects. Speaking of which, she found an old diary in a dirty roadside gas station bathroom… and yep, she turned THAT into art too. Enter “Tammy Pierce”:


Creative. Genius. Since that day, years ago in a gas station bathroom, Tammy Pierce has become her own woman. {ps. the real owner of the diary was not named Tammy Pierce… it’s a name that Esther made up from various names found in her husband’s high school year book… and btw, her husband is Mark Todd – another insanely talented artist / illustrator / teacher}. Here’s a little taste of Tammy’s world today:


Oh Tammy. So many bad decisions. And there you have it… I beat the art history books and got Esther’s story now! It was such a thrill to meet her in person, and I’m over the moon that she said yes to the podcast. I hope you loved it as much as I did! Thanks to Esther for sharing her hilarious, creative stories; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and of course, thanks to you for listening {AND thanks to everyone that’s given a rating on iTunes… ART FOR YOUR EAR is slowly moving up, row by row, in the “What’s Hot in Art” section because of you guys!}

Other people/things we talked about:

Mark Todd  /  Ashley Mistriel  /  Martha Rich  /  Alice Neel  /  ArtCenter College of Design, LA  

ps. I mentioned my brother, playing a hand mirror as a guitar in my “bossy older sister” air band… and should have mentioned that he wrote, played, and recorded the music for this podcast! Another creative genius. Thanks Cam, you’re the best  xo. 

mr. dog’s christmas at the hollow tree inn… and a GIVE-AWAY!

Thank you to everyone that entered the draw for this lovely, heart-warming, made with love storybook! I could only draw one name, and that name is… MEGAN CARTY! If your name isn’t Megan Carty, you can still buy this beauty directly from the Cordes family. Visit their site, right here.

*Stay tuned because I’ll be giving away a little something, via my Facebook page, every Friday between now and Christmas!


I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of a happy, feel-good story… this is it! All of this started with a decades long holiday family tradition, reading a story that is over 100 years old. This tale, titled “Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn”, was written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898. The Cordes family has been reading it on Christmas Eve for generations. Such a shame that it has long been out of print… and so they decided to take it upon themselves to change that! Betsy Cordes, an art director with ideas, business savvy, licensing expertise, and a love of working with artists reached out to American illustrator Adam McCauley {really interesting video here with Adam talking about his traditional “crow quill” ink drawings}. With a lot of love, a truckload of hard work, and a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, they brought Mr.Dog and his friends at the Hollow Tree Inn back to life! Take a look at this video of Betsy and her dad, Jim, talking about the sweet story behind this sweet story. ps. This was their Kickstarter video from 2014, which they finished with flying colors… so no need to pledge. Since this video they’ve printed a second, limited edition, run. Ok, now you can watch it…

Ah, Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn … I just got a copy when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Red linen, gold foil, Adam’s illustrations! Want one? Of course you do! Leave a comment below and I will draw one name on Monday November 30, at noon PST…. and if you don’t win this give-away, you can still order one right here. But be quick… Betsy and her family were only able to print a limited number for this holiday season.

ajean ryan


“Dimensional drawings”… that’s how Colorado based artist/assoc. drawing professor Ajean Ryan refers to these pieces from her very extensive portfolio. There is something so fun, experimental, child-like about them. Bits and pieces from everyday life assembled into delicate, 3D “drawings”… drawings that have me convinced to drop everything and run to my studio so I can start gluing something to something else!

“what charms you”


Thoughtful, intelligent, and full of great advice. Today I’m talking to Baltimore based artist, educator, and part-time MFA student Sidney Pink. I have loved his weird and whimsical work for years, and, I just recently found out about some really interesting research he’s been doing around “arts entrepreneurship” – standardizing and adding business curriculum to the world of art academia. Clearly I had to ask him about that… and while I had him on the line, might as well ask about the strange characters that make an appearance in most of his drawings. You can listen right up there under that Japanese schoolgirl , or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorite “Sidney Pink” pieces: some schoolgirls, a business man, and an astronaut… obviously.


Thank goodness for that lightbulb moment when Sidney realized that he loved white space and decided to roll with it! Gorgeous, weird, narrative… perfect combo. Oh, and among other odd bits {like an octopus}, here are the laser guns I mentioned:


… and one of my most favorite pieces from Sidney’s portfolio, two girls and a tiger mask:


Oh, and a girl in a cow mask with laser gun shooting astronaut, of course. I loved his reason for the masks {not giving it away – you have to listen!}. And along those lines, I also really loved his advice for embracing the things around you, objects and experiences that are in your day-to-day life, and incorporating them into your work. Animal masks, for example.

In the speed round I asked one question I knew the answer to. The origin, or inspiration, for his name… current name is more accurate, I suppose. Here’s where it all started:


Reptilicus by Sid Pink. Such a good story… again, you have to listen! Ah, good old speed round comes through again. Thanks so much to Sidney for all of his great advice and wonderful perspective on life as an artist; to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and as always, to you for listening. I’ve already got the next episode ready to go … it will be up next weekend!

Other links from our discussion:

AKIMBO Dance & Movement Art Festival, Baltimore 

The Critical Response Process by Liz Lermon

Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education

megan foldenauer


Bachelor of Fine Arts – The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Bachelor of Science – Eastern Michigan University; Master of Arts – The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Dept. of Art as Applied to Medicine; Doctor of Philosophy – Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology. Yep. All of that is hanging on the wall of Michigan based artist Megan Foldenauer. She draws all sorts of things {portraits, bio-medical illustrations, songs that she makes into quizzes}, but it was her very simple and very sweet series, titled “Morsels” that got me. Nostalgic, delicious, and beautifully drawn. Thank you Dr.Foldenauer… now I want coke bottle gummies, with a side of chocolate peanut butter cups, and one little candy-cane to help kick off the holiday season! Yum.

katharine morling


Oh. Black and white line drawings that have magically become beautiful porcelain objects. Ok, it wasn’t magic, it was UK based artist Katharine Morling. I wrote about her a year and a half ago, but when I saw those matches, well, it was time to write again {and don’t even get me started on that boom box… 1980’s teen flashbacks in progress.} Happy weekend, everyone!

alex mcquilkin


Colored pencil and pastel on paper. What? LOVE. From heart-shaped glasses to golden ponytails on a field of pink. So much love. This is the work of Brooklyn based Alex McQuilkin, and if you didn’t pick up on it yet, I love it. That’s all.

jay dart


Oh, Canada. I love this colorful ode to Canadiana {magical beards included}. This is the work of Canadian artist Jay Dart. That hot pink log in the first drawing instantly made me think of “The Log Driver’s Waltz” … ah, memories. Yep, between Jay’s whimsical drawings and that classic tune, every Canadian should be feeling quite nostalgic! Ok, now that I’ve got you in the right frame of mind…

GO VOTE. See you at the polls, Canada.

“make piles of crap”


Obsessive consumption, rule-based projects, impostor syndrome, telling our inner a**hole where to go, and “making piles of crap” because that’s the only way you get better. Oh. This woman. So smart, so funny, so talented. I’m talking to Portland based illustrator/educator Kate Bingaman-Burt … she always has a ton of cool things on the go, so I am slightly stunned that I was able to get her for the podcast. She tucked herself away in a quiet corner of her office at school, and we talked and talked and talked {we went a little longer than normal!}. Maybe it’s because she’s a teacher, but wow, she had so much great advice to share. Listen right up there under the swirly IKEA cone, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them. First up, one of Kate’s credit card statements… hand-drawn as self-imposed punishment:


Yep, she drew {and shared} all of her credit card statements until her debt was paid off. This is where her rule-based projects really took off. They of course led to her daily drawings… she drew everything she bought, every day, for YEARS. There are zillions of them, but here are just a few of my favorites:


Gah! So good… and what I might love even more is her hilarious commentary on each purchase! Clearly when obsessive behavior is involved, you have to organize your zillions of drawings somehow. Enter Kate’s monthly zine, “Obsessive Consumption” where she catalogued all of these hand-drawn purchases… which then became a big, beautiful book by the same title:


So. Good. Speaking of good, have you seen Handmade Nation? It’s a fantastic film by Faythe Levine. I love it so much, but until this podcast I had no idea that Kate did all of the illustrations for it! Who knew?


ps. If you haven’t seen this movie, you totally should{Note to self: Invite Faythe Levine to be on the podcast}. And finally, in the speed round, I asked Kate about her favorite place to shop. I thought she might say IKEA or thrift shops, but nope… office supply stores! Apparently when Kate’s feeling creatively blocked, she wanders the label aisle to get unstuck {pun absolutely intended}. Here are a few of her purchases from the shelves that get her creative fires burning:


Post-its. Kate loves post-its, as I’m sure you can see from the number of pads she buys at one time. Ok, I’m off to set up some rule-based projects for myself so that I can make piles of crap, and you should too … because that’s how you get to the good stuff! Thanks so much to Kate for taking the time to do this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

ps. I hate to ask, but if you like my podcast, could you rate it on iTunes? It helps spread the word! xo

“design milk by day & sketchbooks by night”


Usually when you hear the name Jaime Derringer it’s associated with the very stylish, very popular blog, Design Milk. Since 2006, Jaime has spent her days writing about / discovering incredibly talented designers … furniture, jewelry, architecture, and of course artists. But when the sun goes down, or whenever she has a bit of free time {which isn’t often} she is also an artist herself. Drawing, painting, and a fine combination of both. I didn’t know much about how she started, her process, when the heck she fits this into her very busy life… so I asked her. Listen right up there, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them.

Now, before we talk about art, we have to watch this little tidbit that came up fairly early in our conversation: Ross Geller from “Friends” on keyboard… Jaime, is this what it looks like when you rock out on your new synthesizer? Ha! So, so awesome. Alright, time for art. Here are some of Jaime’s abstract paintings, and her gorgeous “string” drawings:


I would hang a little cluster of these together on a wall. I love the combination of precision and her “go with the flow” / “happy accident” approach. It’s kinda crazy that these pieces were made by the same person! And, a little peek into her drawing sketchbook that she works in at night… once her day at Design Milk is over, and her little girl has gone to bed:


She has been keeping a great record of her sketchbook pages through the years… you can see them all right here. And finally, her love of jewelry design has made its way from her body {every time I see her she’s wearing some kind of stunning piece}, to her newest venture, ADORN\milk:



Gah! Gorgeous… art that you wear! Boy oh boy, she has amazing taste and is such a wonderful supporter of independent artists. These are a few of my favorite pieces – you can find them here: bracelet by pico design \ earrings by maple + mauve \ ring by maison 203 \ necklace by vulantri – and of course the whole collection can be found here.

And with that I will say thanks so much to Jaime, to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and to you for listening… there will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend!