“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 audible.com 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: audibletrial.com/JealousCurator

… 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!


beccy ridsdel


Dissected ceramics, peeled back layers, and roses ‘n baby animals as far as the eye can see… oh yeah, I’m in! This is the work of UK based artist Beccy Ridsdel. This series is under the title of “art/craft” in her portfolio, which I find quite interesting. There’s something about the whole art vs. craft thing that totally intrigues me. Apparently it does the same for Beccy… here’s her description of this work:

“The installation takes the form of an observation of a surgical experiment in progress. The ‘surgeon’ is dissecting the craft object to see what is within. He finds craft through and through. He tries the experiment again and again, piling up the dissected work, hoping to see something different but it is always the same.”

{via Colossal}

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.

hollie chastain


SUMMER! I want a homemade popsicle while I sit in a tree with my friends! Sigh, good times. I always love the work {mixed media collage on vintage book covers} by American artist Hollie Chastain, but when I saw these summery beauties, well the kid in me freaked out a tiny bit. Love.

{All of these pieces are available as insanely affordable prints in her Etsy shop, and even more beauties can be found in the shop on her site.}

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.

“painting with flowers”


Oh my WORD. I’m pinching myself over this episode. I absolutely love the work of London based installation artist Rebecca Louise Law. I’ve written about her before, but I was so excited to finally talk to her in person. I wanted to find out where her story began, if she’s afraid of heights, and why she’s obsessed with hanging thousands of flowers from ceilings all over the world. Actually, I’m kind of obsessed with her hanging thousands of flowers from ceilings all over the world too. You can listen under those flowers hanging in London’s “The Garden Museum”,  or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s start with these beauties… they are the first installations of Rebecca’s that I ever saw {aka when my obsession began}:


Right? Well things got a lot bigger from there. More wire, more height, and of course, MORE FLOWERS. Here are a few random shots of awesomeness, including Rebecca in action:


Can you even imagine standing under these suspended gardens? Can you imagine wiring and hanging all of these suspended gardens?!

We didn’t actually talk about this installation, at Bikini Berlin, but I had to include it:


Wow. {photos via Bikini Berlin}

I’m pretty sure we touched on this installation for a few seconds, so I think that’s enough for me to include these gorgeous photos! The show is titled “The Beauty of Decay” … it just came down yesterday {sorry!} in San Francisco:


Oh, so dreamy. I love the photos of the work, but I have to say, I love the photos of Rebecca in action just as much. I’d be thrilled to watch her install one of these stunning gardens someday. {photos via Chandran Gallery, San Francisco}

Ok, this is the big beautiful crazy piece we talked about the most! “The Canopy”, a permanent installation in Melbourne… that used over 100,000 flowers!


Yes! And also, NO… I could not get myself up that high, hence asking her about a possible fear of heights during the speed/get to know you round! That’s also where I found out which flower she would use if she were only ever allowed to use one flower from now on. After careful thought, Rebecca chose…


Helichrysum aka straw flowers. Excellent choice. Oh, that was really, really fun… and mark my words, she is headed straight for the art history books! Thank you so much to Rebecca for fitting me into her insanely busy / flower-filled schedule, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, a new thank you to audible.com 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: audibletrial.com/JealousCurator

And you know what comes next … a BIG thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

ps. Artists need to know math. Stay in school, kids! ; )

jennifer davis


Ok, I’ll be honest… I’ve been wanting to show some of Minneapolis based artist Jennifer Davis’ new work for months, but I’ve been holding out until I can get her on the podcast. Well, I hate to admit it, but I still can’t break her! Don’t worry I’m not giving up… did you hear that, Jen? Not. Giving. Up ; )  In the meantime, I just cannot wait any more and have to post these gorgeous portraits! There. I feel better now. Happy Friday.

{Most of Jennifer’s work is available in her online shop}

eleonor boström


Really, what more could you want? Gardening, a spot of tea, or a bit of stitching… these crazy dogs have you totally covered. Gah! I love them so much. This is the ceramic work of Eleonor Boström, a Swedish artist who splits her time between Stockholm and San Francisco. I wrote about her weird ‘n wonderful hounds three years ago… clearly I had to do it again! ps. I don’t sew, but I do need that second to last thread dog. NEED.

catherine graffam


Beautiful and haunting. This is the work of American painter Catherine Graffam. She paints other people too, but her self portraits take my breath away… So. Much. Emotion. Catherine is a transgender woman who explores the complex nature of gender identity. Going through her portfolio chronologically is such a beautiful evolution. Here are her own words about her work:

“Portraits help me better understand the people in my life, including myself, and by painting or drawing I am able to build upon and express relationships. Self portraiture is a way of cathartically process my emotions, and regaining agency over my body.”

Catherine’s work is available on Saatchi Art.