Olivia Pendergast

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There is something so familiar about Olivia Pendergast’s art. The colors, tones and expressions of her subjects are just memorizing. Sometimes art catches me and I am like “WHOA now that is dope,” or “Artist Z is so talented, how she do that?” And then there are other times when I experience art and am lost for words. I simply settle in and stare at myself staring back at me.

What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit. – John Updike

in art and love,


ruby onyinyechi amanze

ruby onyinyechi amanze
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I love it when I stumbled upon artwork that makes me stop, stare, and think and if it includes assemblage (collage) of any kind, I am pretty much smitten. The work of ruby onyinyechi amanze (lowercase: artist's preference) definitely has me smitten and contemplating the importance of space - empty space, negative space, breathing space - in telling a story. She describes here ongoing series aliens, hybrids and ghosts as...

"Exisiting somewhere between constructed reality, fantasy, memory and imagination, these creatures and their adventures reflect the layered experiences of people who live in-between worlds and whose fluid identity is not grounded in a singular geography or permanence-based, notion of home. In this space, creatures find authenticity, wholeness and freedom in their ability to simultaneously belong nowhere and everywhere. In this world, they play."

Aaaah PLAY! Now that's my kind of world. What about you? Share your thoughts on ruby onyinyechi amanze's work in the comments, I would love to hear them.

in art and love,

Kerry James Marshall

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I saw this beauty up close recently at the MET Breuer and one word - OMAHGAWD! Just breathtaking. Mr. Marshall's uber black figures are like magnets - they hook your gaze and pull you in! It's all intentional according to Marshall.

In an article I recently read of on ARTNews, Mr. Marshall remarked:

“There needs, at some point,” he said in his MCA talk, “to be a critical mass of images in the museum that have [black figures in them], so that when you go there…[i]t’s not something that is the exception to the rule, it’s part of what you always expect to see. That’s success to me.”

Artist on a mission. #dope #gamechanger #boss #IwannabedrivenlikeMarshall Ok, I will quit the hashtaggery and leave you will a few more of brilliant works of art made by Kerry James Marshall.

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A major museum survey of Mr. Marshall's work is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) and will be heading to NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art this fall (YAY **emoji praise hands**) followed by a final show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles in the spring of 2017. If you're anywhere near those cities, RUN don't walk to see Marshall's gorgeous and heavy work.

in art and love,

p.s. special thanks to my bestie who joined me at MET Breuer and snapped the picture of me ooohing and aaaahing Marshall's work.

30 Days of Printing by Hand

30 Days of Printing by Hand Artwork Blog

For 2016, one of my goals is to complete six 30-days creative challenges learning new things and improving other things. In January, I spent 30 days drawing because rendering objects and people realistically confounds me. I wanted the practice. I needed the practice. And after 30 days, I still need the practice LOL.  My resistance to drawing, however, is gone and I have 30 days of showing up to the blank page and sharing my marks to thank for it.

In March, I reconnected with and rekindled an old flame. Collage propelled me down a whole new road of storytelling, taking my art practice in a new and exciting direction. More on that later. In the meantime, you can view all the collages here and purchase a few soon. Got any favorites? I would love to know what you think. 

May starts in a few days and so does the next 30 Days Creative Challenge. YAY!!
I'm looking forward to exploring with all types of stamping objects - food, found objects and of course stamps carved from linoleum blocks! The beautiful thing about challenges and play, nothing is off limits. The freedom to explore and see what happens is what I love about these 30 days creative challenges the most. No rules, and only one expectation - to grow.

I would love for you to join me for all or part of the 30 Days of Painting by Hand challenge. You can do all the days, some of the days or even just one of the days. Your inner kid will love you for it.

To help get you started and keep you motivated to keep making, I made an artsy little guide, a daily tracker and a handy dandy checklist of all the supplies you'll need. If you've signed up to take the FREE Gratitude Daily Course or are a member of the Artwork Community then check your in-box for the goods.  If you want your 30 Days of Printing by Hands Challenge Guide and Tracker, click the button.

Have you ever tried your hand at stamping by hand (HA)? Tell me all about it.

In Art and Love,

Friday Favorites


It's Fridaaaaaaayyyy. Yasss! You made it. Don't think about Monday, stay in the moment and let the weekend wash over you.

This weekend I will be taking in all the gorgeous sun that is fixin' to hit New York City. I plan to take longs walks, snaps some pictures, get a pedicure, and hang some art in my newly configured living room.  Oh, and yes, make art! Last weekend's trip to the museum still has me reeling and my creative juices flowing. 

How about you? What's on deck for your beautiful weekend?

Here are my Friday Favorites found round-the-Internets. I hope they inspire you to create or at least take a walk! 

painterly, printable jam labels // super cute and no paint required.
diy abstract painted ring holder // a simple painterly diy to try.
: illustrated cities // i'm planning my vacation now!
: painterly picture frames // a simple way to level-up any gallery wall.
: make some pop art // so much FUN! here's my take on it. 
: artsy + art for your ear // my two FAVORITE art podcasts. 

In Art and Love,

p.s. If you haven't signed up already, the Gratitude Daily course is getting rav reviews! This is the one practice that has changed everything for me. It's a FREE course. Sign up today!

Spring at the Studio Museum in Harlem


Spring hasn't fully sprung in NYC. In fact, it's cold and grey. Despite the cold temps, I refuse to wear socks. I have this thing...I hate socks. As soon as spring hits, I am all about ballet flats and bare ankles. Just me? Anyway, I digress. 

Yesterday, I braved the NYC cold, met up with a dear friend for coffee and a consultation then I headed over to the Studio Museum to see some art. The exhibitions were everything! The art work of Rodney McMillian, Ebony G. Patterson, and Rashaad Newsome got my creative juices flowing and definitely left me with a new found appreciation for installation art. I have to admit, installation and audio visual art hasn't been my thing. I've seen some weird sh*t....naked men in football helmets in a room filed with dirt, strange looking men and women staring out from a television screen doing weird things.  I am sure there were stories behind these pieces, but in the moment I was just like....weird much.

I've definitely grown as an art maker and art consumer. I now spend time learning about artist and their work create before I show up in a gallery or museum wide-eyed and ready to see some art. The weirdness factor of some installation art becomes less so if I'm prepared and armed with the story behind the artwork.

The story is important.

Rodney McMillian's Views of Main Street is a culmination of painting, sculpture, video and performance. Curator, Naima J. Keith, and artist, McMillian brought together twenty key works created from 2003 to the present that "use symbols of domesticity to scrutinize the political and economic biases within the myth of a universal middle class "Main Street."


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"As the title [Views Main Street] suggests, I hope this exhibition will bring out the complexities of the conversations that happen on different Main Streets, with their disparities of race, class and economics. Perhaps more important, I hope to question what ‘Main Street’ means. When I’ve heard that expression, I have never believed it referred to me or other African Americans, regardless of our economic station." 
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The carpet, the linoleum floor (sorry not pictured...I snap-chatted it but forgot to take a picture, sorry) and the upholstered chairs sandwiching a pile of books transported me back to the 80s and 90s. The pieces looked worn and way past the period of being useful but I could still envision them in someone's house, an aunt or a grandma. To McMillian's point the word "Main Street" doesn't conjure up images of Black folk to me but interestingly enough some of the pieces in his work reminded me of things I would see in my grandmother's house, like the linoleum or threadbare sofa....and don't get me started on the Double Jesus blanket....every Black person in America either has something in their home with this image on it or knows another Black person who has something in their home with this image on it.

After finishing up with the Rodney McMillian pieces I went to the lower level of the museum and good LORDT my eyeballs nearly jumped out of their sockets!

Ebony G. Patterson's work can't be fully appreciated unless seen in person in my honest opinion. Viewed online, you miss the intricate detail of the the individual pieces that make up the entire work. I certainly underestimated the painstaking detail of her work. It seemed all over the top, but I get it now. The sensory overload is all done on purpose.

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Her collection - "...when they grow up..." is an explosion of color, nostalgia, drama and trauma.  Unlike, the other exhibitions on display, Ebony's installation encompasses the entire space even the flooring - a Pepto-Bismol pink shag carpet (sidenote: why so specific CD? Well, I painted my daughter's room this exact color when she was was seven).

Back to this installation...the room is dripping in color and texture and TOYS! My senses were overloaded and I was immediately transported back to my daughter's seven-year old bedroom then my own childhood. But let me be clear. This particular piece isn't about the rainbow, candy-colored jewels, beads and toys that fill the room. This piece is about violence, specifically violence against black children.

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In the artist's own words:

"These children are often described as adults. Their blackness overrules the presumption of innocence...I am hoping to create a moment of beauty, 'sainthood,' and humanity, and to call into question the stereotypes that are projected about black youth."

The bejeweled guns really stopped me in my tracks. I had to sit a spell and take it all in. Beautiful and heavy.

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After catching my breath, I ventured up to the 2nd floor where I was pleasantly surprised by Rashaad Newsome's work, THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SEE (artist's caps, not mine). The caps make sense considering the grandiosity of the work. I started with the collages. They are over the top dripping with images of diamonds, fancy cars, smoke and fire. The imagery is compelling and worth stand-and-stare, but I immediately got up close so I could scan the edges of each cutout looking for the seams and trying to answer for myself the question I ask whenever I see any work of art - How did he/she do that? 

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I walked away satisfied with my answer and now I plan to experiment with my own collage work. 

Newsome's short film transfixed me in ways I had not anticipated. First, there were seats, comfy squishy cubes to sit on whilst being ushered into a hypnotic state by sound and image. The piece appeared to be a computer generated bling-ed out maze of dancing men and women. Four words - voguing pole dancers....EVERYTHING. This piece really got me thinking about the artistic process. I don't know Newsome's technical background, but I am certain he had help pulling off this whole production which is quite cool.  The idea of conceptualizing a piece of art and enrolling others in your vision so that it can become a reality intrigues me.  Art isn't a solitary production or experience.

After coming down from my Newsome high, I got a chance to chart familiar waters and lay eyes on a Bearden. Swooniful.


As I was leaving the museum I spotted this clever piece by Glenn Lignon. It made me smile, the perfect ending to a day at the museum.

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See any good art lately? Who are your favorites?  Leave their names in the comments so I can share them with the A R T W O R K fam. THANK YOU.

If you like this blog, please share it.

In Art and Love,

On Being A Beginner

Being a beginner can be scary but it can also be beautiful. You get to choose.

I've been making art off and on since I was 12 not ever really considering it to be a viable career choice or way of life. While I enjoyed art back then, I excelled in science and math and told anyone who would listen about my plans of becoming a surgeon. In the fall of 2013 things changed. Actually several years ago I put my doctor ambitions to rest and settled into my career as an epidemiologist, but 2.5 years ago I gave voice to the years of resistance, restlessness and seeking and affirmed what I've known since I was 12 - I am an artist. Making things light me up.

Knowing who you are is liberating.

Knowing who you are is way more important than knowing where you are going.

Two and a half years ago I decided I wanted my creative life to be my entire life and not just something I day-dreamt about or did in the evenings after work or on Sunday mornings to soothe and bandage the inflamed parts of my life. Parts left that way because I was just too afraid to quit and start at the beginning. Then, being a beginner seemed scary.

That fall I also stop caring about what other folk thought about me and my coloring ways. I only have one life. You only have one life. What is it going to be? Who are you going to live it for?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -Mary Oliver

I want to craft stories with my words and my paint brushes and I want to live comfortably doing it. I am not sure who or what coaxed me into believing that a creative life meant an unstable life or a lonely life or an impoverished life. Thank the heavens, I let that go! I stopped believing that and every day since then my belief that my gifts - my divine creative gifts - will make room for me have carried me.

Had I decided to go on to an art conservatory after graduating from high school (I went to Fame school by the way...yep the one where students sing and dance in the cafeteria and paint on walls), who knows where I would be. All I know is here I am, a beginner. An artist at the beginning of her beautiful and brilliant career, perfecting her craft, earning her chops, enjoying the process, and making work that mostly misses the high mark she has set for herself, but an artist nonetheless.

Hearing the words of journalist Ira Glass stirred me enough to share all of this with you. If you have a couple of minutes do watch this lovely and creative rendering of Ira Glasses's pep talk to beginners.

Are you a beginner? Come let's hold hands and swap stories. Meet me in the comments.

Tell On,

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What Artist Romare Bearden Taught Me about Commitment

What am I committed to? Who do I need to be to make it happen?

These are the two question you need to answer now. Like right now if you're ever going to have the life you dream about.

March 30, 2026...Ten years from now, when I reflect on today. I want to know that I pursued and practiced my talents fully, without letting up, without apology, and most especially without regret. Hearing what your soul is telling you - pick up the brush and paint, write your story, sell the farm move to the city, leave the city buy a farm, dump the boy, slowdown, down size, make room - is the easier part. Committing to what you hear then deciding who you need to be to make it all happen is an entirely different thing.

Can you imagine ascending to greatness based on how you decide to spend time, your evenings and weekends for example?

Romare Bearden, the brilliant artist, writer and activist, spent most of his adult years up into his 50s working as a full-time social worker in New York City. He made art in the evenings and on the weekends. For thirty years, he created masterpieces in the evenings and on the weekends. Masterpieces. Mind blown? Oh, he took care of his wife and children too. Mind blown, now? I know right! 

 Romare Bearden, Mother and Child, 1977, Silkscreen with Photo-lithograph

Romare Bearden, Mother and Child, 1977, Silkscreen with Photo-lithograph

Bearden ascended to greatness based in large part to what he decided to do with the little time he had. He was that committed to his art, to his soul's calling. No excuses. He honored himself, his talents and his commitment.

Can you imagine ascending to greatness - top of the pack, best selling, known for your brilliance and bravery, mentioned in the same breath as the other greats - based on how you decide to spend your evenings and weekends, your "free-time."

Great because you committed to starting your business, launching your blog, writing your novel, learning that thing you always wanted to learn, being brilliant. Great because you figured out who you needed to be - dedicated, responsible, vulnerable, open, present, available, patient - to make it happen.

So ask yourself...

What am I committed to? Who do I need to be to make it happen?

I want to root for you. Declare your commitments in the comments. We're in this together.


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