Friday, May 30

Graduation Exhibition!

The Annual Student Exhibition (ASE) of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has only two more days to run! Last day to see it is this Sunday June 1, 2014. For those who can't make it, here is what I have hanging in the show:

"Presence" oil on canvas 18 x 24 inches 
"Young Man" and "Young Woman" oil on canvas 48 x 30 inches each

"Cheer" digital image 52 x 36 inches

"Signifier" oil on canvas 36 x 24 inches

"Veiling" digital image 18 x 22 inches

"Head Dress" digital image 14 x 20
"Angel Caul" digital image 14 x 20

"Emerging" digital image 14 x 20
"Laptop" digital image 14 x 20
"Push" digital image 12 x 14
"Stamp" digital image 12 x 14 inches
"Witchy Anne" digital image 20 x 14 

"Henry King" digital image 20 x 16
You can see a gallery showing a few pieces by every artist in the show by clicking here. If you wish to make a purchase, you can call the museum at: 215-972-7600

Wednesday, May 28

MFA Graduation!

On May 9, 2014, I graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts degree. 

photo: Alma Selimovic

Earlier that day I attended the awards ceremony where I was honored, delighted, and deeply touched to receive the MFA Faculty Award. The prize description reads:

The MFA Faculty Award is to be presented yearly to the student who, in the estimation of the MFA Faculty, has made a major contribution to the graduating class on the basis of the exceptionally high quality of his/ her work throughout the graduate career and who has exerted a positive influence over his/ her fellow students. First awarded in 2002.

A week earlier, when it was announced I was this year's recipient, I was completely taken by surprise, almost floored.  I had to brush away some sneaky ninja tears and take a few deep breaths. There were so many highly qualified students to choose from that I never even gave the possibility a thought! I am truly honored, and grateful for this encouraging vote of confidence from my faculty, whom I hold in the highest regard. I need to live up to it, going forward.

photo courtesy PAFA

Here's my entire MFA class, assembled on the grand stairway in the historic landmark building, one of the most beautiful buildings on earth. Nice place to be "from."

I'm embarrassed but delighted too. photo: Mike Manley

So, May 9th was also my birthday. When I got up to make a speech at some point in the graduation ceremonies, the Dean of the school, Jeff Carr, stopped me before I reached the podium and led everyone present in a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday!" What a moment. I was intensely embarrassed but it was also pretty cool to have hundreds of people singing Happy Birthday to me...can't image anything like that will ever happen again! Bizarrely cool thing to happen. Thank you Jeff Carr! 

Nancy Bea Miller, David Brigham, Jane Golden, Al Gury
photo: Darian Downs

I love this quick shot taken by my mother-in-law showing me, PAFA president David Brigham, Commencement Speaker Jane Golden (oh my god she was such a great speaker!) and PAFA Painting Department Chair Al Gury, right after the ceremony ended. It kind of makes up for the fact that I don't have a photo of my receiving the diploma or posed afterwards with my diploma. Not only was the official PAFA commencement photographer shooting at a weird angle (up and from the side?) but in addition he caught a transition movement in my face where it looks like I am wincing, eyes closed and mouth a grimacing rictus. On my way to or from a happy smile but not there. So, no, not going use that one! And my family and I didn't think to take the usual post graduation diploma and big grin shot though, I guess, though I do remember some photos being taken somewhere by someone....but NBD!

Amanda Mason and Maisie Moseley, twice, and me at the reception.
photo: Rick Moseley
I in fact took lots of shots of the day, and night, recording the event through my own eyes (yay camera phones!) and I posted the best of them to Facebook. If you want to see happy people and acres of art just go to this link:

So, now I am a Master of Fine Arts. I wish my Mom had lived to see it. She had the only other Master's Degree in our immediate family and she would have been so proud of me, following in her academic footsteps. Many thanks and love to all who helped me achieve this! And I promise to use my powers only for good. ;-)

Sunday, May 25

Beatrice Carlson Miller 1927-2014

So, it's been one month since my mother died. She'd been sick for a long time but still at the end, we were all surprised how it went faster than expected. She was on her own path, clearly.

This was in March, Mom was fading but still present to some degree

She had very loving carers. This was the day before she died.

Pall bearers of all sizes

It was the most beautiful spring day imaginable

Many kind friends brought us food which helped so much

She was an unusual and wonderful woman, intelligent, compassionate, appreciative and incredibly modest despite being hugely talented in many areas. She was a wonderful mother, a fond aunt and truly devoted wife. We were all of us so blessed, so lucky, to have her in our lives for as long as we did, but I greedily wish we could have had more time together. Maybe that's always how it goes. ♡ Mom's obituary can be read here:

Saturday, April 12

Visiting my Parents

Paul and I drove up to CT to see my parents today. Mom was put on hospice care about two months ago, but I naively hoped that this might have been more about changing her type of care rather than a real harbinger of what was coming. That did seem to be the case at first, but she has been declining suddenly just lately. I spoke with hospice people twice this past week, and a little with Mom herself, and decided I could not wait till next month for my next visit. I'm in the last few weeks of a graduate degree program, and we were/are planning to celebrate with my parents on Mother's Day in May, two days after I graduate. Was/am hoping to show Mom my diploma and tell her I am grateful to be following in her footsteps. (Always a hard worker, she got a Master's from Columbia when she was a brand-new mother!)

We stopped and picked up Dad first. 

Dad asked me to bring him toothpaste. He couldn't recall the kind he liked so Paul got him a variety.

Saw this old photo of my parents in my Dad's apartment.

Mom loves flowers

Mom was asleep and slept heavily throughout our entire visit. Dad was being very brave.

Even though Mom was sleeping we got some snuggling in

She loves cats: I hope she enjoys the company of a few furry friends when she wakes up!

This is a natural phase in existence, but it is incredibly painful. Driving home we were listening to a talk by Edward Hirsch and he quoted this beautiful poem:

Life flows to death as rivers to the sea /And life is fresh and death is salt to me. (J.V. Cunningham)
Of course, everyone is hoping she will pull up out of this recent nose-dive, and she could! She's always been so strong. Keep the river flowing Mom... 

Thursday, April 10

Dawn Brushes Rose

Just a typical day at the sink in art school 
Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?

Wednesday, April 9

Poetry Poke

again the artist comes to the studio with unkempt hair ~ parody of Chiyo-ni
April is National Poetry Month here in the U.S. I majored in English at University, with a concentration in poetry but I somehow missed out on studying any asian poetry traditions at all! I later discovered various traditions on my own. Fukuda Chiyo-ni (Kaga no Chiya, 1703-1775) was a buddhist nun, a calligrapher and a painter in addition to being one of the foremost haiku masters of the Edo period in Japan. The poem of hers that I respectfully parodied is this:

again the women
come to the fields
with unkempt hair

Monday, April 7

Book Contract!

Yesterday we had a momentous evening! Paul signed the contract for his book, working titled "The Boss Life" which will be published by Blue Rider Press (an imprint of Penguin Books) in Fall 2015. I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, February 27

Henry as Muse

Henry and Henry

Henry (and his brothers) have long been my primary muses. Peter and Henry attended their first gallery openings (a solo exhibition of mine at Germantown Academy) on their ONE MONTH BIRTHDAY! So they are all patient and experienced with their mother's need to draw paint and photograph them. PAFA held its open studio session in February this year and Henry came along to see himself hanging up on the wall. He seemed to calmly approve! ;-)

Photographer: Susan Michini

The drawing of Henry has attracted a lot of attention.  My friend Susan Michini who is a very fine photographer later took this photo of me with the Henry drawing which I'm including because I am in awe of her skills! 

Wednesday, January 15

King Cake...Ka-ching!

I got the coin in the King Cake! Along with the possibility of heavy metal poisoning (note the pretty green oxidizing surrounding the coin)  I guess it signifies wealth a-comin' at me in the new year! I'm just grateful I did not break a score! Except, it's a Euro. So I can't actually spend it, dang! Is this some kind of sneaky zen koan?

Here is the cake before it was cut up, a real beauty made by my friend Helen. And it was delicious too (once the coin-y and bean-y bits were excised!) King Cakes often have pastel colored icing or bright sugar toppings, but Helen is an artist as well as a natural foods enthusiast so she went her own way with this, to great effect. Here's a recipe for anyone interested: