Chance/A Floating Mind

November 7, 2012



I wanted to give chance a larger role in my digital image-making, so I printed a large aggregate of “Tin House” images onto 32 flat aluminum abstract shapes to be grouped in myriad combinations as a sort of sculptural intervention through space, carrying forward a sense of transparency that is everything about how I apply transparent paint to panel, canvas, paper, wall.

I am interested in the intersection of chance and deliberation in artmaking. Developed through careful methodology, “Tin House” and “Tin House Cut Outs”  are two series of digital pigment prints on paper that draw on experience in the natural world interpreted in images of unkempt photography and abstract paintings seen together. They are layered, built, erased in a process that spans time and underscores its passage. Onto paper, imagery of molten destruction reconfigures and alights as ink patterns.

“Chance” is a step away from paper onto aluminum. Created from bringing together merged photographic and painted imagery from the “Tin House” series into one image and printing it onto thirty-two abstract flat aluminum shapes, chance places the images on each piece. As it is unknown exactly where the large image prints on each shape, each piece is one-of-a-kind, each capturing a portion of the larger image, which itself contains the essence of the project’s origin in painted and photographed landscape. Some pieces perform alone, others in combinations.

Chance scattered “Tin House” over 32 pieces of aluminum. With artist’s eye and hand, deliberation joins chance in arranging them in dimensional space.

“Chance” = digital print on aluminum shapes

“Tin House” = digital prints on paper (digital imagery, not photo of object)

“Tin House Cut Out” = digital prints on paper (digital imagery, not photo of object)



It is a digital creation containing photography, a step removed from paint on canvas. There is no sculpture, no “original” of which this is a two-dimensional representation. The image IS the art, rendered tangible by inkjet printer, ink on paper.

There is a photo in there. The eye searches for and finds it, propelled by expectation when we look at flat art that we know is not painting, drawing, collage. 

There is a painting in there too, in fact, three. These are not “painted in Photoshop”; these are oil and graphite paintings on wood panel–my paintings–translated into the digital world by photography. 

Together the digital materials are subjected to the same principles of esthetic practice employed by artists making things from the begininning of time: exploration, design, building, removing, reflection,  revisit, at some point it’s done.

My series Tin House Cut Outs are prints on paper, entirely two-dimensional. In related series are certain Tin House Cut Out images printed on flat aluminum: not sculptural, a flat object, with the same origins as the images on paper. 

This Saturday July 14, 4 to 6pm, at the Petaluma Arts Center, 230 Lakeville Street, Petaluma, is an opening reception for “Digital Mixed Media: Bay Area Artists Take Digital Photography to a New Level.”  I’m pleased to have a piece in this stunning exploration of the work of Bay Area artists who alter photographs and combine images with mediums from metal sculpture to tapestry. The exhibition runs June 29 through September 9, 2012.

Considering the fires…

June 29, 2012


I hadn’t expected to connect the current raging Western fires to my artwork, occupying as they do, vastly different universes–one incomprehensibly hot and devastating, the other my quiet studio where I make digital art.

It seems self-serving to bring these landscapes together, but the photographs that have held my attention for two years–and are the foundation of my digital artwork–show a building strongly effected by Western fire, a place dear to my heart that melted in the Big Sur fire of 2008. It makes sense to speak of them together.

I am interested in the impact of human intervention in landscape as it relates to climate change: people make homes at the edge of wilderness, building houses that are sure to burn in an ever-heating climate. The scenes from Colorado make me sob. In the struggle to quell the blazes, perhaps now connections can be made between funding public services such as fire-fighting and receiving the services we’ve come to expect.

As a landscape painter along the continuum from representational to abstract, I’ve made paintings in response to places of vast natural beauty that I’ve experienced firsthand–in particular, where water and land interact, the mutable edge of one to the other. In nature, I take photos as an image notebook when compositions meet my eye; later in my studio, I work them into paintings.

Two years ago I extended my painting to a new medium, and entered the world of digital art-making, combining images of my particularly-abstract paintings with photos collected from the melted-building discovery. I could have applied a narrative of new growth emerging through destruction, but the topic was simply making new art out of new media from materials I had on hand.

The works are landscapes, pictorially and conceptually.


Tin House is a series of five pigment prints on archival paper (, available in two sizes. They adhere to conventional rectangular image format with white border. Two of this series showed at ArtWorks Downtown in San Rafael CA in 2010, and in Berkeley CA’s Civic Center Art Exhibition 2010-2012.


Fascinated with abstract patterns within each photograph of the building, I began creating sculptural shapes with the combined painting and photo imagery, isolating the shapes on white paper. In their abstraction, Tin House Cut Outs speak strongly to the presence of fire.

I continue painting landscapes, my first love. In addition, the curious new digital series, Tin House Cut Out, affords a new angle on abstraction, bringing in the illusion of sculpture, and touching back forty-five years to when I etched zinc plates down to practically nothing, then printed them.

Selections from Tin House Cut Out sold in May at benefit auctions for Kala Art Institute and at Venice ArtWalk for Venice Family Clinic. Three are included in “Landscape of the Mind,” Nash Gallery in Minneapolis (closing 6/30/12). Separate works have been juried into “Fresh Works” at Harrington Gallery, Pleasanton CA (closing 6/30/12); “Digital Mixed Media,” Petaluma Arts Center, Petaluma CA (opening 6/29/12); and “Crosscurrents,” Alameda Museum, Alameda CA (opening 7/6/12).


Why Open Studios: To show you what I’ve been working on over the last year, see which of my ideas and media generate response, talk about art making with viewers and makers of art. I like to curate my studio walls, surprise myself to see which works fit together; create a floor where works can be taken out and moved about, accessible. As much as showing my art to the public, it is hearing from you that adds purpose. This year it’s small works, oil sketches on canvas and panel, all for sale and all made with much larger works in plan. Glaciers fill my imagination in every regard, but it is their home at water level that causes me to paint.

Unrelated to glaciers, a curious assortment of digital artworks and reproduction prints of certain paintings are in the mix, along with shelves of figure paintings & drawings, abstract works, works on paper, larger landscapes from recent years.

Please join me this Saturday and Sunday, June 4 & 5, 2011, from 11am to 6pm.
3298 Lakeshore Ave, upstairs, Oakland CA 94610.

First of two weekends in conjunction with Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios.

Peace, Jane

Shifting, slipping, sinking, sliding, convulsing, volcanic, explosive, massed…  last night I wrote words describing what powers my art: humanity’s eternal push toward self-determination set within the forces shaping Earth. Mirroring, overlaying, land/human visual metaphors excite the hell out of me. This morning I watch live images of tsunami striking Japan after region’s largest recorded earthquake. Metaphors of earthquake, tsunami for uprisings in Egypt, Libya, the corporate power grab intent on finishing off the US and the rise of everyday folks to hold back the tide pale against the reality of the Earth itself. Who knows if today’s catastrophe is triggered by climate change, but climate change is fully underway, storm coming in.

My heart to Japan and everyone affected by this enormous event.

3.1.11 Afghanistan

March 1, 2011

Alongside the volcanic people’s power rising up from Tunisia, Egypt, US Madison WI, continuing with harrowing effect in Libya, grinds along the Afghanistan War, day after day, month after month, year after year. What happens there, what happens next….

Artists speak out against this war in a traveling exhibition of 50 plus 4’x6′ banner-style paintings called “Windows and Mirrors,” organized by Chicago AFSC.

Opening last October in Philadelphia on the 9th anniversary of this iteration of war, the show is now in LA:

When I consider the comprehensive effect of war, I feel absence. Individuals, villages, family, animals, side of a hill, farm, the next minute, fact of a future… erased. In painting, I wanted to convey a lack of person. Not a dead or injured person, but a person expected to be there who isn’t. A cut out– of relationship, the world. Holding this concept of not, I wanted to show the life around the absence, who feel the absence; standing on their ravished land, they are painted in vibrant colors because that’s life.

From Los Angeles, the show travels to Greensboro, Atlanta, Chicago; October to San Francisco, November to Kansas City.

2.11.11 Egypt

February 12, 2011

Stamping, marching, dancing, living, sharing food and opposition, the spirit of Tunisia, feet in the street, the lines 2.11.11 legs carrying a people into democracy, passion shaped by brilliant organizing, seizing the possibility, believing in victory. Arab youth change the world.