Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Messy Studio!

Wow. I just took a look at my easel and realized it's been a while since I have cleaned..... Ha! You can't even see all the coffee cups. But it makes me feel so happy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Sorry, my dear, dear delicate readers....
I  was just informed that the term "hoo-ha" is actually a reference to a woman's private parts. 
I had no idea. About the word, I mean. 
This is coming from my sister, who at the moment, has been taking an inventory of all her American Girl doll stuff.... $900  worth! One step closer to grad school for her!! I thought for a second my mom's head was going to explode and confetti would come flying out of her ears with all the mini-crap. 

pack rat?

It's 5:39 a.m.... I'm STILL awake. I'm not sure why I can never seem to get any sleep.

I'm sitting in Atlanta, in my mom's living room, surrounded by dolls. 
Yup.. dolls.
Now before you all roll your eyes at my poor, patient mom, know that I don't have a crazy mother who collects dolls and has, like, 50 cats. Actually, it's really my sister who is the crazy one.

When we were younger, at a certain point, my parents made a lot of money. They later lost it all (don't come knockin' on my door..). But while they had some, they spoiled my sis and I. I got art supplies and clothing (nothing has changed...hmmm), my sis, well, hmm... she loved American Girl dolls. Now for any of you that are not familiar with these (that's a good thing) these dolls were made  to PERFECTION. She has three dolls. Each one comes with all sorts of nifty little hoo-has, including matching little handmade clothing, doll-sized paper bags for lunches, a radio that plays the news from the 1940s, and even a handmade tennis racquet. I'm talking TO THE MAX. These dolls are no joke. My mom is moving, and she has asked, as a birthday present, for my sister and I to go through all of our hoards of sh*t and, well, DEAL WITH IT. 

But at 5:39 in the morning, those dolls are freaking me out. Seriously. Mini-crap EVERYWHERE.

So her living room has, for the weekend, transformed into Veronique's doll neurosis. There really is crap everywhere. We had a ball going through boxes yesterday.... 
And I realized something. I have never had any real extra-curricular interests. I have always drawn. And that's it. My old crap is just boxes and boxes of sketch books and napkins with doodles. 

Veronique, on the other hand, was much more creative than me, we are finding out. Not only did she write 75 little books in one year (4th grade), but we are also having to sort through her "ceramic collection". Beastly things, really. She would take these massive lumps of clay, add fins or wings or legs or whatever, put it in the kiln at our school, give it to my poor mom as a whale, bird, dog-thing. Aww. So now we have boxes and boxes of these bizarre, twisted animals. Again, VERY weird at 5:40 in the morning. 

She also used to steal the emergency safety cards from airplanes. Folks, we're talking like 30 or so of these, just sitting in a box. Why??Why??? She has poems, and an old flute, batons from band camp, tennis racquet (to match her dolls), scraps of weird religious items from her 2nd communion, oh.... and....
my sister has a severe problem with throwing away stuffed animals. She still has about 150 of them. I'm not kidding. Everything from the hand puppets my grandma made to shut us up, to a Coca Cola bear from the 1996 Olympics. My mom is trying to get her to donate some, which, to her credit, she parted ways with over half yesterday.
It makes me think. Here I am, a supposed artist. And yet, my brown boxes of sketchbooks feel a little limited. They are, in some ways, a tad too standard for my taste. 
And then I start opening them.
Oh, dear.
Too many very,very weird self-portraits. I have a sketchbook from when I was 12 years old with alien skateboarders. And so, so many faces. Sometimes I would fill them in with neon paints (again, my poor mom was the victim of one of these horrendous portraits..... only I decided to get really creative and paint her face 4 feet tall.  We call it the NEON BEAST in my family).
There must be a thousand little linear drawings of still lifes, people sleeping on trains, watching tv, copies of other paintings, african bug patterns, lizard heads, chinese calligraphy.... you name it. 38 sketch books I think I counted. 

Still. Veronique's pile, in all of it's glory, seems more interesting. Freakish dolls, stuffed animals, scraps of fabric, McDonalds' happy meal toys.... it's all so full of life. 
 I guess I've moved around a lot too. I have no problems throwing stuff away, except art.
And neon beasts, apparently. 

ok.... I'm going to try to sleep. 
The dolls are still creeping me out.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I'm very thankful for my family. I have been consistently reminded of how lucky I am to have them. This morning I had a bit of a hard moment, and my little sister was right there to pick me up where I had fallen. My parents are absolute gold to me. I don't usually tell them enough, either.  Tomorrow is my mom's birthday, and I came across this video recently. I think there are a lot of ways to hear this song.... Bono is singing to himself in the voice of his own father, or singing to his own son, or maybe even God (whatever you may believe) singing to us. 
I've sent this to several friends who are going through hard times. It's a good song to remember to sing to yourself sometimes. I picture both of my parents singing this to me. (except the part about fighting.... we really don't fight). 
Please enjoy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Workshops

Hello! Welcome to my blog, for those of you who don't know me and were sent here for class details.

I will be teaching a series of oil painting and drawing workshops this summer. These classes are for every skill level. 
The classes will be held in my studio, located at 8th and Market streets, in downtown Chattanooga.
The classes will focus on painting a portrait in 3 hour sessions. A demo will be painted at the beginning of each class to show techniques in color, values, proportions, and edge quality. 
These classes are designed for students looking to advance their techniques in painting from life. All three sessions (one per month) will focus on different aspects of painting and drawing, so I recommend  taking full advantage of working from life monthly. 
The above example is one I did of Jim Pfitzer in one hour. Posted throughout this blog are images of sketches I have working on that are examples of the technique I will be teaching.  
I will be posting a supply list for oil painting, but students are welcomes to use other mediums including pastels, acrylics, watercolors, and charcoal. 
If you are interested in enrolling in a class (or all three!), please email me at miamiekko@yahoo.com. 

Workshop dates and times:
All classes are on saturdays from 9am-5pm, with a one-hour lunch break. 

July 18th
August 15th
September 12th

Classes are $100 each, or $250 for all three.  
Students are responsible for bringing their own supplies, including easels. 

Thanks so much, and I look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Finished painting

Here is a painting I just finished. "Vintage Hat"    24"x36" oil

Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon

Susan Lyon's "Girls from Mt. Kilimanjaro"
Scott Burdick's "Full Procession"

If you are not already familiar with the painters Susan Lyon and her husband Scott Burdick, PLEASE go to their website! They absolutely rock! I met Scott at the Portrait Society of America's annual conference this past year, and he is one of the kindest, most down-to-earth painters. Both of them are incredibly talented and hard working. They are, in some ways, my idols for some of what I would like to accomplish in my life. They spend much of the year traveling, then come back to their North Carolina home to finish the paintings and sell their art. 
I love the fact that not only do they both have complete admiration for each other's work (it's VERY obvious), but they each have a unique sense of painting similar scenes quite differently. I like the humanitarian aspect you feel from their work, not to mention their brilliant compositions and paint handling. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

painter injuries?

Ok, so I know painting is not exactly a high-risk job. I mean, most painters have the physic of..... well... librarians. We have one, really, really strong, exacting arm. hmm. But otherwise, it is by no means a high-intensity sport, er, job.
But I've got this horrible pain tonight. My neck hurts, and the muscle running next to my spine on the left hand side feels inflamed. I think I have been gripping my Viva towels way too tight....
Does anybody have a good remedy? I've been self-diagnosing with a little Corona, but I hardly doubt t is as effective as other strategies. I think sipping Coronas and watching clips of "The Notebook" is getting old (I am SUCH a girl...)
Any ideas? What would Sargent have done (hey... brilliant idea... I could make bracelets with WWSD? ... a big hit, no doubt, with the Portrait Society of America... hmm....) Someone once told me Sargent had a "damn" rubber stamp that he would let out whenever he was frustrated... talk about passive agressive! My mom is getting astamp that says WTF......
nice, mom.

Edward Hopper

This past weekend my dad came to visit up from Miami. We had a great time, and visited many artist studios in town (thank you Hank, Lilani, and Isaac!). Last night we came to my studio, and I showed him some of my newer gallery work. There is a painting I am working on that he mentioned had a sort of Edward Hopper feel to it. Obviously the paint handling is quite different, but this was SUCH a compliment. I had sort of forgotten about Hopper.... what a crime! I think he is one of the most brilliant American painters (with Rockwell, obviously) to capture the time and feel of our country. Most of his paintings have a seriousness to them, as if you can really get the sense of wartime, the depression, and yet the backbone of strength that pulled the United States through those times. 

 Plus, he composes like a motherf#$*er.  HA!

 Seriously, his compositions are so off the wall.  It's too bad a lot of painters today disregard him because of his somewhat heavy-handed paint handling. 
Anyway, it was such a huge compliment, and made me excited that the tone I was going for came through. I'm not posting a picture yet, since it's not finished. It's really fun working with scenes and mood..... things that portrait painting can seem a bit more limited to expressing.