I Heart Austin, Texas!!

I am currently in Austin, TX, working on a mural project for Gatti’s Pizza, and managing to get in just a little sight seeing as well…

The Mexican Freetail Bat is the mascot of Austin, after the city accidentally built a perfect bat habitat along the bat’s migration route from Mexico. The city considered them pests at first and tried to get rid of them, but Austin citizens fought to save the bats and now “bat bridge” is a big tourist attraction. 1.5 million bats summer in the long thin recesses under Congress street bridge, rearing their babies before heading back to Mexico. At sunset they swoop out in a massive group to fly east up the river feeding on 20,000 pounds of bugs a night!

It was cloudy the night we visited the bridge, so they did not make their dramatic flight, but stayed close to home, darting over our heads to feed on mosquitoes.

Something amazing has been growing in Austin, hidden in the backyard of a small, nondescript South Austin home. It is the Cathedral of Junk! Refuse is lovingly attached together into rooms, towers and walkways to climb and play in.

Vince is the creative genius behind the cathedral.

My Austinite friend Thor climbing one of four towers….

The view from the top!


“Faces of History” in MN

As a visiting artist with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in Minnesota, I am painting a series of panels for the “Faces of History” mural, celebrating colorful characters from Minnesota’s past. These ten 4′ X 8′ panels will be installed outdoors in the neighboring town of Wadena, where the Alley Arts Institute plans to complete an ambitious series of mural projects. The town’s theme is “Pieces of History”, with a jigsaw puzzle motif connecting the various murals around town. This is the second year I have been involved with this project, after helping to plan it two years ago, and painting the first mural last year. There are now almost twenty murals completed by local artists, changing the face of Wadena, MN!

“Pieces of History” Mural in Wadena, MN

For the entire month of June, I have been painting as part of a community project in Wadena, MN.

My assistant Michael Beachy, a local art student, and project director David Evert working behind him.

BEFORE… this is what the wall looked like before we started.

And AFTER… the finished mural! It is intended to look like a big jigsaw puzzle, to fit with the “Pieces of History” theme of the project. This is the first in what it is hoped will be an onoing project to depict the history of Minnesota in Wadena.

It’s an orgy of bird life, with blue herons and the state bird, the loon, which is almost as big as a goose, and its babies ride on its back!

Details of eagles. Notice the painted turtle on the log, which was painted in on the last day on the town barber’s request.

I could not have done it without the help of many, many friends, including Hope, who is helping me here to touch up nail holes once it was installed.

Catching a big Northern pike with new friends in MN. (…note the plastic gloves; it all seems a little icky to this city girl)

First Stop

Ottertail, Minnesota (population 451) is where I am laying my head these days, while I paint a mural in the neighboring town of Wadena. Small town life is something to get used to again after Chicago. I need to remember to pay AFTER pumping gas, and get used to people looking at me like I’m crazy when I lock my car door. I was near here last year with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, making the Corn Dress, and the Alley Arts project in Wadena asked me to come back and help get an ambitious mural project started in their town.

The New York Mills Cultural Center has graciously allowed me to use their beautiful upstairs studio space to work on wire dress forms for the next project.

First Days on the Road

Driving through Sauk City, WI, the sky lit up with an amazing rainbow, a good omen for the journey! I am on my way to Wadena, MN, to help the town with a mural project they are starting. I will try to jump over to the Dakotas on my days off to create a dress sculpture…. Does anyone have any contacts in North or South Dakota?