I was a poor poor art student when I decided to start a blog documenting the process of my paintings, photography, drawings and journaling. Now a recent art grad, not much has changed other than the label and maybe a change of scenery.

February 4, 2011


a new year, a new month and i must say it's been a crazy start.

a quick update about my life is that I was recently offered an administrative assistant position at MCAD (minneapolis college of art and design) and will be starting in a week or so. i'm excited for this new transition and consider it to be a big step in my artistic career. while i won't use the word 'just' because it compromises the importance of the subject, many may think 'administrative assistant? more like secretary.' let me tell you something, it is hard getting into the art community, and not only that but getting paid for it (with benefits). now i get to work about something i care about and something i know i can progress and grow in. my goal is to meet other artists: grads, professors, visiting artists and gain inspiration from their talent. and being a shy-at-first person, another goal is to network and not let my traits hold me back. and also visit galleries, see shows and get to know more of the area of minneapolis....i know that i will be surrounded by art and artists and it will be a good change of pace since i need to start making work again...AND I SHALL.

after my 'take action' plan took place a month ago, things are going in the right direction. i look forward to posting some real posts, of real art work and real progressionnnnnnnnn.

December 18, 2010


Although it may not appear to be true, I am in fact very hesitant and self-conscious when it comes to writing about art or my own artwork. sometimes it's artist statements and the daunting task of trying to put all the context that's on canvas now into words. other times i have this idea of how something should sound (articulate and fancy frou frou words) and trying to write that way while still attaching my style and dignity to the written piece. sometimes it's hard "fitting in into the art world" while people may seem non-conformist there are rules that all applicants should "try" and apply to. but i'd be just as happy to be upfront and narrative like i am on this blog......anyways i've been in this reminiscent mood lately (now in my 6 month post-grad morning period) and i came across a paper i did in painting II circa 2008. it was a reflective assignment on an abstract painting that was due the day of critique. and i decided to start painting/writing the night before (shocker). but in 5 years, it's one of those essays i enjoy reading every once and awhile. i wrote it alone at night outside the painting lab, sitting against a cold brick wall on the laminated applied arts floor. it was one of those moments where, there wasn't lapse of judgment, rather a constant surge of thoughts and words that fell into place. a paper that was natural and in return was i proud of. so i wanted to ctrl+c, ctrl+v into my blog in hopes that i start writing this way, the way i want and not what i believe others expect.

Painting II

Well, right now I can say that my canvas isn’t very far ahead. In fact, to be honest (which you probably won’t be glad to hear or see tomorrow) it’s pretty blank. And I can’t say too much for my idea or plan for this assignment either. It’s as though I have hit a brick wall. A really big brick wall. We’re talking huge and it’s one that I can’t get over, up, around or under.

You say to just put paint on the canvas. Just jump right in and go for it. It sounds easy enough, but it’s probably the hardest thing for me. I’m used to a plan. An idea. Or my greatest and worst tool…painting from a picture. When I have that, and I like it, I have more confidence in the piece that I am about to create rather than having no direction at all. And I think that’s the hardest thing when it comes to abstraction. It’s important to paint what you see, and not what you know. Just how do you do that with abstraction? You don’t. It’s all in the head, basically. And my head lately feels like there’s more occupied storage than empty space. So what’s one to do? What am I supposed to do if I have no clue where I’m heading? Apparently, hire a detective…

So maybe through this abstraction assignment I will be able to see that not having a set plan is not such a dreadful thing. Yes, maybe at the beginning I will be eating those words. But, maybe once I progress to the middle and the completion of the painting things will come together. Or this project could fall apart. So really, while I fear abstraction, I think my biggest obstacle is just starting the painting process.
But when I think of abstraction, I think of bold solid colors with geometric shapes and overlapping. And I don’t know if that’s so much me. I love brushstrokes, thick paint, lots of different colors and movement. I don’t want to lose that. So another thing I hope to learn in this project is how to keep that style but use it to a different subject matter. I want to find ‘my own’ idea of abstraction. One that I am confident in. Something that still says, “that’s something Kiley wouldn’t normally do, but you can tell she did that.”

But maybe I’m jumping ahead. Just maybe this project will show me something I never expected to learn about my abilities. Until then though, I will not consider abstraction my friend, nor my enemy either. I’ll just call it an acquaintance for the time being.

November 15, 2010

my reality vs. actuality

recently i've wanted a studio space with lots of natural light (grandiose windows). not sure why that is, since i'm out of bed at 11 am and don't really start being productive until 2 or 3 pm. after this time, i proceed to procrastinate to start the creative process until i "feel like it". those who know me, know this. they also mock me about this, but i can't fault them for their acute awareness of my habits.

i'm the type of artist that can't start working usually until after dinnertime. like 6 or 7. preferably when it's dark out. and when no one else is around. isolation, yes, that is key. and normally when it's fall or winter, the cold drives me inside to sit, look and think. but now it's winter, and i don't go to school. i go into a garage, or lay on my couch. the atmosphere has changed, and so i must acclimate to this.

September 15, 2010

late night thoughts

i've realized i'm a seasonal person. while some may relate that to my job position, it actually has to do with the environment i live in. for instance, i am happy when it's sunny and melancholy when it's rainy. i enjoy being out during the summer, footloose and carefree. and while i'm sad it's over and still don't want to come to terms with the fact that fall is here, i do realize i get more into a creative hibernation mode right around this time. it could be that my internal clock is programmed to school mode and right about now i'd be biting at the bit to come up with a concept to show for my first critique. however, i'm in central me time zone so i'm goin' my own pace. i'm just drawing and my skills are rusty without the reliance of a projector, but so far it's been a good challenge. i have the right music helping me along and i feel like i could get used to it.

the incubat'or.
reversed image via webcam.

this is about 1.5x2 ft big canvas that i made in the spring. i used rabbit skin glue seal coating the canvas without the use of gesso. it's a little uneven and now a tad dirty from the move, however i'm trying not to care. perfectionism isn't something i'm harping on this time around (at least not right now).

August 15, 2010

botanical bizzness

a few months back i went on a bike ride here in the burbs and stumbled upon a fantastic trail that led me to fantastic wildlife. nothing exciting like redwoods or waterfalls, more like prairie grasses and native minnesota flowers. the first time around i sketched them fast and later applied gouache to the drawings. now i'm thinking this could go somewhere. since i enjoy doing it & it doesn't take an insane amount of time to complete, i want to create little paintings and put them in custom designed second hand frames.
second bike ride i took pictures, i haven't identified them yet but will soon.

i'm not sure if it'll be better to paint from life or photograph, so that's something to experiment on. my real goal here is to shoot for simplicity. don't overstate what's there. they're flowers, how more complicated should that get?

taking a picture on top of a high hill (and perhaps catching my breath) check out the yellow tree.

August 11, 2010

location location location.

i got the chance to see a fellow coworker and artist Michaela's art show at this japanese restaurant in uptown called moto-i. i've gone to uptown "area" since i was little. i always asked my mom to lock the doors because well lake street has street cred as a bad hood. however, it seems that you hop a few streets over and you've reached the current artist mecca.

i'm living at my mom's until i can get my act and benjamins together. so i've been in the suburbs outside of the cities, disconnected from people my age, art shows going on and anything that relates to things i really enjoy. sure i can walk into a mcdonald's without looking behind my back or walk to my car alone, but it doesn't matter where you are shit happens.

so like i said, went to uptown just a few streets down from where i normally venture. it's weird. one side there's a white castle and people waiting under a bus station and the other side it's all youthful white hipster people smoking outside trendy bars and roof top restaurants. i don't like describing these displays of cliches however i'm an observant person and observance means documenting my accounts.

the reason i'm so critical is because being in the "art scene" i've noticed that people don't want to conform. they want to express themselves as an individual and be set apart. but all i saw in that area, in that bar is conformity. all i saw was thick rimmed glasses, flannel, beards, and the current blasting in my ear. and i always thought i wanted to be in that area, but i'm wondering if i would just add to the population (seriously i felt like i was in an urban outfitter store). would i change as well to fit in? or would i feel out of place, like i did at that uptown bar tonight?

maybe this could become a series (always turning that bigger question into art) or maybe i shouldn't care. all i know is, i'm currently undecided. what's new.

i'm more motivated than i seem.

i was having a few drum solo's during stapling. i think my neighbors are starting to question my sanity as well as my college degree.

cleanliness is godliness. why my mother doesn't trust me, i'll never understand.

having a weekday off isn't always horrible. sure i miss out on the parties and happenin' things goin' on duing a fri/sat/sun, but there are upsides to having your weekend start on a wednesday and end on a thursday. like there's better television shows on, the lines aren't as long wherever you go and everything seems more relaxed.

today being declared an art day, i stretched the canvases and put tape around the sides. then around 11 pm i gessoed the tops (in air conditioning). it went pretty smoothly. i never used to appreciate making stretchers and gesso'ing, i saw it as a tedious process and a detour towards the ultimate destination of painting. but now, as my carpentry skills grow, i realize i actually enjoy the process. instead of slapping together some pieces of precut bought wood from dickblick, i get to make decisions and use my perfectionist qualities and make sure everything is flawless. i don't trust many people when it comes to handling my artwork and this is just another situation in that case. besides why would i want to give up that zen/relaxed feeling? in the end the hard work normally pays off.

tomorrow is another day off...time for ideation/conceptual/sketching process. maybe after some fun summer outdoor activities though, gotta get my intake of vitamin d.

August 4, 2010

oh those summer days.

oh hey, if you still follow this blog you'll notice that the updates have been non-existent since may. about 3 months. what can i say? after a big transition like senior show, graduation, moving out of wisconsin, moving back to minnesota, working almost 40 hours a week...there have been just a few changes...and the excuses go on, but the posts remain stagnant.

here's to changing that. my professor tamara said i spoke tentatively and since then i have made it a point not to do that. and trying not to sink into post-grad depression, there are tentative moments to be had. but my main goal right now is to not worry about work that's going to land me in shows or is conceptually developed (i have some, but you don't think i'm gonna spill them on here do you?)...and just paint. which in all honesty, is nice not to have pressure of a deadline or people looking over at my space seeing what i'm going to paint next. so i'm going to start small paintings (oil and gouache) of still lifes and flowers and sell them for some small cash. etsy, or something like that. and paint on stretchers and small pieces of paper. here's the pictures of probably the most motivating day i have had this summer.

like mother, like daughter.

connie is a craftswoman and i am simply a schmoozer.

all of this wood and soon to be stretched canvas are all scraps and small pieces left over from larger projects. since i'm confined to a smaller space, have a tight budget of no-cash and have to share my space with my parental, it's probably the right thing to do. stay tuned for more pics of what's going to be put on the surface....

May 11, 2010

something to remember

c.m.l. - you understand still life, you're still working on the figure...it's not fluent to you. you may speak french fluently, but your swedish is a little rusty (aka the figure).

May 10, 2010


the time is done.
painting is over.
and for some reason i feel indifferent.

i didn't finish my duck painting. one of my mentor's, deb, told me you will see how hard it is to paint after your show. i thought, no way i've got a picture that i want to paint and i think it will be great. everything will be smooth.

these past 3 weeks have not been smooth, rather difficult to motivate myself to have a brush touch paint touch canvas. i've been enjoying the things that i got to miss out during that time that i was in the studio. do i feel better about it? have i gained anything? yes.

so now i'm done and maybe i should be missing painting. just reading some of my blog posts of the nights where i was in that studio alone, made me realize what a journey it has been. and even telling myself i would miss it. but i don't think i am ready to miss it yet. i think a break is called for. a vacation. but if i'm reading this later down the road, here's a warning for you (kiley): don't give up painting. don't let your procrastination/laziness be the barrier to make great work. things will be and are different, but with change comes new perspective. you will and must paint again.

like i said, i don't miss painting yet. i miss being in the studio with friends or i miss the moment when i was finished with a painting. i miss my space even though i loathed it most of the time. i miss walking out of that applied arts building with the cold air hitting my face and knowing tomorrow was another day to tackle the daunting task of finishing that painting. that's what i miss right now.

this is the song for today, don't ask me why. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmjPrdTNxQ0