medium /// painting

anna di mezza


People snipped and cut from their original environments and placed in front of giant crystals, on snowy mountain sides, and deep in outer space… yes, that sounds like collage to me, but these are paintings! This is the work of Australian painter Anna Di Mezza. She says “… the paintings invite the viewer to make up the plot in their own mind as if the images were taken from a frame from a surreal film.” Um, yep! Happy storytelling, and happy Friday.

{Her work is available on Saatchi Art}

mark todd


What? A “Tell Truth Magic Rope” included too? Yeah, I’m going to need this in my collection. Ok, I don’t have an action figure collection, but if I did, this crazy little Wonder Woman would be the STAR! This is the fantastic and hilarious work of LA based artist/illustrator Mark Todd. All of these pieces, and many more, are in a new show that opens tomorrow night, September 2nd 8pm – 11pm, at  La Luz de Jesus in LA {4633 Hollywood Blvd}. The show is called “Covered” … here’s the gallery’s description:

“Todd reinterprets comics from his youth, as well as earlier, iconic ‘ultimate collectors items”. Most of the pieces in this show are based on these types of desirable comics, such as number ones in the series, or the first appearance of a character which were often unobtainable for a young, comic obsessed Todd and his small weekly allowance. In Covered he keeps his interpretations of these covers closer to the source than in previous shows, channeling a combination of confidence with playful naivety, injecting humor with purposeful “mistakes” such as misspelled text and truncated sentences.”

So awesome! If you can go, GO. The show will be up until October 2nd.

ps. I don’t have any Star Wars collectibles in my non-existent collection either, so clearly I’ll need to add a limited edition Mark Todd “CHEWBACK” to my list:


So. Good!

“cheesiness aside, art gave me purpose”


Much like a mother who loves all of her children equally, I love all of my podcast episodes equally… but this one is really quite special. New Hampshire based painter Catherine Graffam is only 23 years old. Yeah, 23. She didn’t find art until she was a senior in high school, at a moment when she absolutely needed it. She began painting self portraits as soon as she discovered oil paint and hasn’t looked back. Whether she realized it at the time or not, she would use painting to document the huge life transition she was about to make. Catherine is a trans woman and her paintings, sometimes sad but always beautiful, have been evolving and developing right along with her. You can listen to our conversation right up there under Catherine and her pink hair, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a few of my favorites to get things started:


Gorgeous. That final piece is titled “Panic”… doesn’t it look like a still from an old movie? Love it. So much.

Next, these are the paintings that broke my heart when she sent me that very sad, angst-filled email while she was still in college:


See? Dark. Literally and figuratively.

Throughout this episode I kept telling Catherine how brave I think she is. Exhibit A, “I Guess I’m Stuck With Me”… the painting she included in a show at college depicting the beginning of her transition:


Beautiful, vulnerable, and BRAVE – whether she’ll admit it or not. The other two pieces are the paintings she mentioned that are also titled after song lyrics: “Head High, Tears Dry”, followed by “Anthem For A 17 Year Old Me”.

Her self portraits are the base of her work, but recently Catherine’s been pushing herself to paint other people. Different faces, different angles, different stories. Here are a few of my favorites:


Ok, so clearly she can paint other people too! Gorgeous.

It wouldn’t be right not to include these beauties… not only does she rock pink hair, look at all of the color and light that has made its way into her work:



Speaking of love, this is Cat and her cat starring in, “Self Portrait as Madonna and Child”:


Ha! So good. Thanks so much to Catherine for doing this interview with me, and being so vulnerable, honest, funny, and yes, brave. She’s only 23. TWENTY THREE. I am so excited to see what her future holds. Thanks to Saatchi Art for not only supporting this episode, but for also selling Catherine’s work. A big high five to for making my new book into an audio book! To preorder a copy for FREE just use my fancy link:  … and you know what comes next, thank you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other Links:

  1. New Hampshire Institute of Art
  2. Emily Barletta episode
  3. Sean Beavers & Sydney Sparrow
  4. FKA Twigs
  5. “The Polygon Project”, Tasmania
  6. RISD
  7. “Gender Unbound” Show, September 24, Austin
  8. Saatchi Art to purchase Catherine’s work


natasha law


Oh. I have loved the sultry, elegant, feminine work of UK based artist Natasha Law for years. I wrote about her in early 2014 and just came across some of her new pieces… and here we are! Her color palettes are perfection, and I’ll be honest, this the sassiest use of glossy house paint I’ve ever seen. Love.

{bio photo via Vogue}

“red bank red is from my yard”


Clay from her yard, rocks from the side of the highway, and random bits of shale all turned into art supplies. Yeah, she MAKES HER OWN PAINT! A few years ago, at an art opening in Tennessee, I met Chattanooga based painter Amanda Brazier. We didn’t talk for long, but long enough for me to find out that she makes all of her own paint. Obviously I ran back to the hotel and looked her up… instant love. So here we are, years later, and I get an hour to talk to her about how she does what she does! We also talk about ice cream and running quite a bit. Brace yourself. You can listen right up there under Amanda’s freshly made paint, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s start at the beginning… the magical, natural beginning:


Gah! Look at all of those perfect homemade tubes! And yes, there are quite a few Red Bank Red’s in there… straight from Amanda’s backyard. Amazing. And how perfect is it that she’s a trail runner and part-time high school cross country running coach!? She can gather samples while she’s out there ; )

She talked about how she’s able to make the different colors in her beautiful, quiet, natural palette. I wanted to know about this dreamy grey-ish blue:


Oooh. I love them all!

Up next… this is where Amanda’s fascination with structures began, and how it evolved:



And finally, the painted “weavings” that give me a headache just trying to figure out what should go where and when:


Oh my goodness… so so so good!

Thank you so much to Amanda for telling us the secrets behind her beautiful, natural work; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode; high fives to for making my new book into an audio book… to preorder a copy of the audio book FOR FREE, along with a 30 day free trial at Audible, you can use my fancy link:  … and as always, thank you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Mark Bradley-Shoup
  2. Freed Hardeman College
  3. Earth Pigments
  4. Natural Pigments
  5. Sandy Webster
  6. Cat planters by Beardbangs!


courtney wotherspoon


YUM. The portfolio of Toronto based artist/illustrator Courtney Wotherspoon is filled with all sorts of wonderful things… portraits, quirky collections, gorgeous lettering… so I had a really hard time deciding which pieces I should write about. And then I found these delicious painted/drawn beauties. Yep, they were screaming my name on this very hot August day. I’ll take one of each, please! Happy weekend.

ps. congratulations to Courtney on becoming a mama for the second time, only two days ago… get that woman some ice cream STAT.

“modern frescoes and micro evolutions”


Modern watercolor frescoes, suitcases full of striped socks, and a mutual love for Swatch watches. Yep, this is what went down on today’s episode with American painter Ali Cavanaugh. I was so curious about her process – she paints on panels coated in a thin layer of clay!? Obviously I asked her all about that. I also had a question that read as follows, “arms, legs, striped socks… why?” Well, she told me! You can listen right up there under the dot-covered arms of that lovely redhead, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s begin with a few arms ‘n socks. I’m sure you’ll recognize this work – it was all over the interweb a few years ago {including my site of course}:


I love them oh so much. Not only are the stripes and compositions absolutely fantastic, um, these are watercolors! Stun. Ning.

Ali mentioned moving from oils to watercolor as an experiment. For those pieces – pieces that basically changed her life – she only used one color for each painting. These are not the exact pieces, but they’re from her “monochromatic” portfolio so that you can see what they look like:


Again, I must reiterate… these are watercolor paintings!

Alright, and now, onto the legs! This is where the striped socks began:


So feminine, so absolutely lovely… as was her reason for starting these swinging legs in the first place.

Oh, now this series is beautiful, on so many levels. Here are just a few paintings from the “Milly” series:


A teenager with a very aggressive form of cancer who became Ali’s inspiring, light-filled muse for the series. And in case you haven’t listened to the episode yet, I’m very happy to report that Milly is in full remission! Ali has painted her several times since, and yes, these pieces are insanely beautiful too:


I mean, come on. GORGEOUS. Also, I want Milly’s haircut.

From oil, to watercolor, to washy watercolor… the micro-evolutions that keep Ali’s work fresh. These are some of her latest portraits:


Dreamy, yes? Sigh.

I had to include this, even though it makes me sad. This is the portrait Ali was asked to paint by a mother whose baby was stillborn. She wanted an image of him that was filled with life and love:


Beautiful. And heartbreaking. And beautiful.

And finally, a peek into Ali’s brand new studio. I found these images on her lovely instagram feed:


Gah! That light… are you kidding me!? She’s got everything she needs in there – big windows, lots of space, and a few cute kiddos to keep her company.

Ok, and before we wrap things up, Ali took a few photos of her insane sock collection for us:


And that’s just a few of them! Yeah, that’s alotta socks. Thanks so much to Ali, a fellow Swatch lover, for taking the time to chat with me; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode; high fives to for making my new book into an audio book – and for letting me narrate?! To preorder a copy of the audio book FOR FREE, along with a 30 day free trial at Audible, you can use my fancy link:

… and last, but certainly not least, thank YOU for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Kendall College of Art & Design
  2. Affordable Art Fair, New York
  3. Milly’s work
  4. L.Ross Gallery, Memphis
  5. Swatch!
  6. Short film about Ali… so good!


scott sueme


I just wrote about the abstract work of Vancouver based Scott Sueme from his 2016 portfolio … but for some reason I didn’t click past the 2016 section of his site. Um, good thing I went back because this is his mixed media work from 2015. How fantastic are these sporty pieces?! I love the simple, flat compositions… not to mention the fact that I totally have Olympic fever right now. Yes, these are perfection.

sydney bella sparrow


Photographs of vintage thread spools… except that they’re OIL PAINTINGS!? This is the stunningly realistic work of American painter Sydney Bella Sparrow. Now, she does paint other things {flowers, fruit, found objects}, but there’s something about these rainbow-hued beauties that tug at my heart… my grandmother’s sewing box perhaps. These lovely gems, in most cases, are no bigger than 5″x5″. I cannot even imagine being able to make paint and a tiny brush do this. Gorgeous.

gemma gené


Geesh… painting realistic work on a huge canvas is tough enough, I’m not sure I could handle that kind of third party scrutiny on top of it! This is the gorgeous work of Gemma Gené, a Spanish architect and painter who’s now based in New York. Big beautiful work that, for the first time in a really long time, makes me want to build a giant canvas to see what might happen. *No dogs allowed.