medium /// painting

“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. 

carlos ramirez


Has it started snowing where you are? We got the first sugar dusting so I’m already in desperate need of some dappled sunlight shining through flowers… thank goodness for these gorgeous ink and acrylic abstracts by Florida based artist Carlos Ramirez. Sigh. So lovely. Speaking of lovely, I found this video of Carlos painting in his sun-filled studio. Captivating, and strangely relaxing, to watch him transform a blank canvas, layer by layer, into these nature-inspired beauties {I might also be jealous that he’s wearing flip flops}… take a look:

larissa eremeeva


Polka-dots, stripes, and a bunch of moody girls… yep, I love them all! These oil painting portraits are the work of Russian-Dutch, now New Jersey based, painter Larissa Eremeeva. So simple, yet so rich at the same time. Sigh. Gorgeous.

{via Saatchi Art}

helen, lourdes, and liz


Oh. My. I love this so much. The work of Brooklyn based artist Lourdes Sanchez {who I just wrote about a few weeks ago}, hand-in-hand with the best-selling book, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is the creative brainchild of art director Helen Yentus {fyi – she has designed so many beautiful books, including the now very famous cover for Eat, Pray, Love}. For this project Helen dug through Lourdes’ extensive painting archives and chose 250 pieces. She then made 250 totally unique covers for “Big Magic”. Sigh. Magical, indeed. Lourdes emailed to tell me about this fantastic collaboration, but instead of blowing her own horn, she wrote this:

“I just want to really stress that it was Helen Yentus’ vision – then rolling up her sleeves and figuring out how to make it happen – that brought this to life. My artwork being on the covers was one section of a much larger circle, {it was all work that I had done over the years, that Helen dug up from my archives} and I feel the star of  this particular story is Helen. But, it’s also interesting to me that the work of three people: a writer, an art director, and a painter – who have all been honing their craft for awhile – came together for a moment in time.

Wonderful. On every level. These special one-of-a-kind pieces can be found here.

sophia heymans

sophiaheymans sophiaheymans2 sophiaheymans3

Now these are some serious landscapes that I would happily get lost in. These mixed media pieces, that celebrate every season so beautifully, are the work of American artist Sophia Heymans. I love them, and here’s why… first of all, they’re BIG {most are at least 5 or 6 feet if not bigger}; secondly these landscapes truly incorporate the landscape. Her materials list reads as follows: acrylic, moss, paper mâché, string, twine, prairie grass seeds, dried dill, oil on canvas. What? Amazing! And finally, perhaps the biggest feat of all… those crisp, snowy scenes are actually making me not dread the Canadian winter ahead.

ps. “Prairie Burn” is my favorite… love ♥


“big salad”


I have loved the work of American artist Jessica Brilli for years. I’ve written about her a few times, and I’m sure there are many more posts to come. She has a love of all things vintage, as do I. The other thing we have in common… curating. Yep, we’re going to talk about a very exciting show {that kinda makes me want to cry} which will open later this month, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Ok, you can listen right up there under that lovely couple, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few pieces from her “Static” series, the work I posted about way back in 2012:


So good. But alas, she “got tired of painting typewriters”, and so she turned her attention to vintage, suburban landscapes. I follow her on Facebook, and she often posts work in progress. I find it fascinating to watch her work develop that way. Here is one of my favorite progressions:


Ah! A peek behind the painted curtain. That piece is one of the images that was inspired by the set of slides she bought at a garage sale {such a cool story!}. Here are a few more from that “Slide Show” series:


… and those are the slides! I also asked for a tiny peek at her studio, and look, a vintage radio… surprise, surprise! Of course, I had to ask her about her motel paintings. The image below is one of my favorite pieces of hers. It whisks me right back to family road trips:


Love. Speaking of love… “Jealously Curated | East Coast Edition”. What!? Yes, Jess and a bunch of other artists have put this beautiful show together, that opens November 23rd in Cambridge MA. The theme… everyone in the show has been written about on my site! How crazy amazing is that? And yes, I got a little teary-eyed when they emailed to ask me if I’d be ok with it. Ok with it? Um, YES. Here is a peek at the fantastic artists whose work will be included:


Gah! So, so good! I wish I could go to the par-tay {Jess said the opening party was in November, but it’s actually on December 3rd}. If you can go, please do… and then send me photos! Alright, that’s that. There was a quick mention of a Big Salad with the Seinfeld crew in the speed round, and then we said goodbye. Thanks so much to Jessica, for EVERYTHING, and thank you so much to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

{Links to artists above: Anna Jensen / Jenny Brown / Airco Caravan / Erin Fitzpatrick / Jeremy Miranda / Leah Giberson / Taliah Lempert / Zin Helena Song / Jessica Brilli}

ilona szalay


Oil paint on glass… and a few on canvas… but mainly on glass. This is the stunning/sultry work of Beirut born, London based artist Ilona Szalay. I already thought these pieces were gorgeous, and then I found these exhibition photos which made me truly realize how beautiful paintings on glass can be {some are even lit from behind with lights}:


Oh my. Love.

claire harvey


Oil paintings… tiny oil paintings on glass slides, acetate, and scotch tape! Add a little sticky tack, and voila, special little pieces that I can’t stop looking at. This is the work of UK born, Amsterdam based artist Claire Harvey, and there is oh so much more where this came from! Check out her site to see all of her tiny people living on their transparent surfaces. Love.

{Thanks to Carolina for sending me a link to Claire’s work}


“fill the whole ream”


Cactus people, tree people, folding chairs, and a bit of podcast anxiety. Even though LA based artist Ashley Mistriel was nervous to talk to me, she did it anyway! And I’m so glad because we had a great conversation about all sorts of things. One of my favorite stories was about Christian Clayton making her fill a whole ream of paper with drawings… now there’s a way to let “perfection” go! Anyway, you can listen to us chat right up there under that little cactus clan, or you can subscribe on iTunes. Here are Ashley’s “tree people” – the work that got her into the MFA program at Cal State Northridge {CSUN}:


The tree people have now led to the cactus people:


Sigh… I love those cactus people. Next, I noticed that her portfolio was not only filled with cactus people, but there were also a lot of chairs, so clearly I had to ask about that:


Lovely. Up next, a tiny peek at the thread installation that she did with a friend, artist Kristen Dikio:


So, she’s a painter, an installation collaborator, and a curator! Yep, she and another artist, Theresa Knopf, are putting together a show of collages at Good Eye Gallery in LA {November 28th 3-6pm, 4538 Eagle Rock}.

And just to call it out, this is the gorgeous piece that Ashley recently sent to me. I was so surprised and beyond thrilled… look how gorgeous it is:


Love. So much love! Up next, this is the piece she was talking about that got into American Illustration very early on in her grad school experience:


… and finally, this special piece, titled “Stanwood Drive”. Yep, it’s amazing what an afternoon out with your grandfather can inspire:


There. Just like that, it’s over. Nothing to be nervous about! Thanks to Ashley for not saying no to me, and thank you so much to you for listening! Hoping to have more art for your ear next weekend…. Bye!

Other Links/Info: 

Ashley’s Instagram feed

Good Eye Gallery show – November 28th 3-6pm, address in Eagle Rock

A few of the teachers she mentioned: Mark Todd, Esther Pearl Watson, Martha Rich, Samantha Fields


naomi zouwer


Ah, more organized work that satisfies the over-organizer in me! I wrote about some tiny painted grids last week, and Australian artist Naomi Zouwer saw them on Instagram and thankfully pointed me to her Instagram feed! Little thrift shop finds, beautifully painted and organized into perfect lines? Yes! While on her site, I found another project she is working on… more objects, but for this series, titled “Auditioning Objects”, she paints them, cuts them out, and displays them like a beautifully bizarre shrine to odd objects: