Tag Archives: valerie savarie

30 in 30 day 1 – Clown College Drop Out

I’ve been searching for a reason to keep painting. I found Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 challenge and it has given me some steam. Happy New Year to all.


Edit:Last year I learned a new word, “Ekphrastic.” My friend Valerie Savarie, an altered-book artist,  put together an exhibit with that title in which poets responded to works of visual art with their literary works, then read their poems aloud at the opening reception.

Yesterday, I was thrilled to read poet Ken Smith’s “Clown College Failure,” sparked by his looking at this  painting.

Clown College Failure

At the end he had that unconvincing smile, maybe half a tube
Of grease paint, one green shirt with matching pants, a box
Of small hats with massive wigs, and a keen sense of the shocks
That flesh is heir to. On the wide college lawn, after he begged
The dean of clowns for another chance to play the hapless rube,
The world said the role is yours and the world has not reneged.

Ken is a writer and English professor living in South Bend, Indiana.

Check out his Twitter feed here, and listen to him read his Michiana Chronicles essays here.

Thank you for the ekphrasis, Ken!


oil on canvas, 60″ x 48″


I am happy to have finished the largest painting I’ve attempted thus far and grateful for the advice of my trusted friend Dave Wyzenbeek that helped me see this to completion.”Majnun” will be debuting at Core New Art Space  on October 1, in a show titled “Ghosts” that I am sharing with the accomplished and gifted altered book artist Valerie Savarie.

I will be present all three Friday evenings of this three-week exhibit, on the 2nd, the 9th, and the 16th, from 6 to 9 PM. I hope you can come by, share a glass of wine, and let me know what you think of the new work.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the ancient story of the star-crossed lovers that inspired this painting, you can learn about Layla and Majnun here. And Eric Clapton once wrote some songs about them, too.

Getting by with a little help from my friends

As February 10, the opening date for my solo show at Zip 37  (preemptively conceived of and titled as “Lovesick”)  approached, I realized the 50 unfinished canvases in my studio were nowhere near becoming 50 finished canvases. Or even 20. Or 10.

I have been painting every day. Really. But winter is never kind to my psyche. Worrying, sleeping and moping consumes a lot of time. Progress is slow and inertia is a harsh mistress.

I never want to half-ass a new solo by hauling out older stuff, so I was in quite a dither and moaning about this to friends when it occurred to me- like the zen koan about the guy who goes out riding on his horse for the purpose of finding a horse- I have friends. (Or at least, people willing to talk to me:)  Some of those friends make art. And some of them make art about love, at least sometimes.

Et voila-  “Lovesick” will include the work of nine of my favorite Colorado artists, exploring the madness that is love. There will be paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, book arts and printmaking.

I am grateful to Penney Bidwell, Heather Doyle-Maier, Sarah Haney, Sara-Lou Klein, Lokken Liane, Claudia Roulier, Valerie Savarie and Susan Vaho for saying yes. And I am excited about this show, opening on February 10 and running until February 26 .