Thursday, August 25, 2016

Artistic influence-Graphic Masters at SAM

The Graphic Masters Show at Seattle Art Museum was such a treat as it contained three of my long-time artist influences: Dürer, Rembrandt, and Goya.  

Why they inspire me

Dürer's lines, filled with energy and play-

Rembrandt's mastery of light and dark-

Goya's soft tones and use of bizarre imagery-

There were also works by Hogarth, Picasso and R. Crumb.  

Hogarth doesn't move me. 

I prefer Picasso's pre-WWII work. 

When I was a hippie teen, I enjoyed the subversive nature of Crumb's work but over time his subject matter lost its allure. So I was excited to see the way he tackled Genesis and, wow, is his work beautiful. Rooms filled with all the original panels of line work. I even bought the book.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Artist Talk

Recently, I had two opportunities talk about my art in relation to two shows.

I volunteered to sit on a panel about working in collaboration for the Cross Pollination show at Shoreline City Hall Gallery. I was also invited to speak about my solo show at Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church.

I don’t think I’ve ever given an artist talk. Once upon a time I would not have signed up for either event. For the last several years, I have struggled with sometimes-severe anxiety about many things. Speaking in public is no longer one of them.

I'm in the gold jacket. Don't I looked relaxed?

I didn’t even prepare for the panel beforehand. In writing the statement required for the show application, I’d already thought through what we were doing. It was just a matter of riffing on that. As the moderator called on other people, it looked like I would be the last to speak. I did start to get a bit nervous.

More prep was required for the solo show. I wanted to do an overview of the whole Café series. Several of the paintings sold years ago and I wasn’t sure if I had digital files of them. I hunted through an old computer - nothing. I was about to brave the basement for the original slides when I found a portfolio of the series. Given that photos weren’t great, the digital images came out ok.

It took two weeks to photograph all the cafes that still exist. A visit to the basement yielded sketchbooks with preliminary and final drawings.

I created a slideshow in iPhoto. I wrote out the talk and practiced with the computer.

My MacBook is so old, it wouldn’t run the slideshow and couldn’t connect to the church’s monitor. I used my husband’s notebook connected to a projector.

The talk was set for coffee hour after Sunday service. I set up during the service and did a run through. When I hit the pause button the images dimmed and it was hard to get the pacing right. 

When three people were seated, I started. Three more people wandered in during the talk. Since the church is in Woodinville, I was surprised how many people knew the Seattle cafés. The talk took about seven minutes with a few more minutes for questions. My husband thought it could have been longer with more explanation of my creative process.

The iPhoto slideshow wasn’t the best format. It was hard to pause it on the right image. Something like PowerPoint would probably be smoother. Learning PowerPoint is going on my to-do list.

How not to be nervous? I can’t tell you that. Speaking like this use to terrify me. Now it doesn’t. I don’t know why, except that even if everything had gone wrong and people didn’t enjoy the talk, so what? There are loads of really horrible things in life. This isn’t one of them. If you have the chance to give an artist talk, even if it scares you, go for it!

Lessons learned:

1. Make a List and Timeline
Write it down. Check off items as you complete them.

2. Document your work.
This is critical. Document as you create.
Much easier in the digital era.

3. Set up some kind of filling system and use it.
 I still have files across several computers and although I pay for an online archive, I’ve yet to use it.

4. Prepare beforehand.
Write your talk
Gather and resize your images (’cause you already have them, right? See #2 & #3)
Put them in a presentation program, which you test thoroughly.
Test your equipment at the venue several days before.

5. A whiteboard does not make a good projection surface.
The projector light reflects back too brightly.

6. Bring your business cards.
I had that on a mental list, not a physical list, so it didn't get done.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cross Pollinations

The Cross Pollinations show looks terrific at the Shoreline City Hall Gallery. The opening reception included a panel discussion and yes, I volunteered to talk for The Portrait Collective. Artist collaborators spoke about working together. The biggest theme was trust, the trust required to let someone else into one's working process.

Ready to hang

Cynthia Yatchman, Peggy Murphy, KJ Bateman-The Portrait Collective

Panel Discussion

Monday, March 7, 2016

Studios-Part 2

Basement studio as it looks right now

As I've written here there was a 8-year gap where I didn't paint much. During those years the basement and my studio area filled up with stuff. Even if I had wanted to paint, there wasn't much space to work in.

My son is in Guam this year; I commandeered a portion of his bedroom for studio space.

Corner of son's room. Shhh! He doesn't know.

Last July I started volunteering for an the VALA arts group in Redmond Town Center. They divided the back of their gallery into artists' workspaces and I applied for one. I moved in in December.

VALA studio space

The first outside-the-house studio in 30 years and I am thrilled to drive the half hour from my house even if I only make it once a week. I started that fencer painting 8 years ago. I've been working on it in this studio and it is almost finished.

It's possible to work in small, dark, cluttered spaces, but it makes it harder and easier to do something else.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Studios-Part 1

The year after grad school, I had a studio on Capitol Hill. It was the top floor of an old building and had been a parking garage. A auto repair shop took up the ground floor. The old ramp was boarded up. The wood floor was coated in peeling paint. And probably layers of toxic stuff.

The managers put in a little bathroom.  I had three different spaces there, each one progressively smaller. The first, a huge space with three west-facing windows, I framed, dry-walled, mudded, and painted.

I was working full-time at Frame It, Ltd. with not a lot of free time. When a smaller, cheaper space opened, I switched. It had north light. Even that was a financial stretch. Finally, I framed and drywalled a wide section of the hallway for a small studio. No windows.

Then, as now, Capitol Hill parking was terrible. It was free, but you could only park for two hours and those meter readers were there the exactly when time was up. I got numerous parking tickets.

At some point during this year I became pregnant and quit my job. I couldn't afford even the tiny space.

I set up a work space in our small house in Lake City. I didn't paint much with a new baby. When we bought a two-bedroom house in Ballard, we had even less room. I had another baby.

We built a separate garage which became the laundry and my studio. I set up an intercom and worked in the early morning before the kids were up.

To gain three bedrooms, we moved to a ranch-style house in Shoreline, more than doubling our space. Part of the unfinished basement became my studio. The kids grew older, my mom moved in and required care.

I created work from 8"x8" up to 4'x6'. Because they were created under artificial light, those paintings look best in the evening under incandescent light. The basement windows are few and small.

After my daughter moved out and my mom moved to assisted living, I set up office space in the smallest bedroom. I still do all computer work here and run my virtual assistant business.

There is a drawing table under there.

Planning and reference center

Computer and printer station

I would like to say that it doesn't usually look like this, but I would be a liar.

I've longed for an outside studio with its lack of distractions and responsibilities. No siren call of food, books and TV. No prod of necessary house projects.

Over the years I have looked for outside studio space. It is priced out of my reach. The cheapest I've seen $125 per month for 4'x12' with no windows. About the size of my hallway. I suspect it is a hallway.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Portrait Collective Cross Pollinates

I am pleased to say that The Portrait Collective (a silly, fun name for our little group) will be in a show in Shoreline, Washington April 23-June 24, 2016. It looks like we will each have two paintings in the show "Cross Pollinations" which will be on view at the Shoreline City Hall.

Press Release:


In today’s changing art world, collaboration has emerged as a primary means of artistic production in the last 30 years. Indeed, the upcoming exhibition Cross-Pollinations is itself a collaboration between the City of Shoreline Public Art Program and the Shoreline Lake-Forest Park Arts Council. According to Charles Green, author of The Third Hand: Collaboration in Art from Conceptualism to Postmodernism (U of Minnesota 2001), “The conventional idea of the lonely artist passively waiting for inspiration’s light bulb to be turned on” is no longer relevant to contemporary artistic practice.

Six artist teams and two individual artists whose process involves collaborative strategies will present a variety of media, including installation art, works on paper, glass, steel, photography, book arts, and sculpture.

Artists from Shoreline and the Puget Sound region include: Chaim Bezalel and Yonnah Ben Levy; Susan Gans and David Traylor; Meghan Lancaster; Anna Macrae and Flora Ramirez Bustamente; Lin McJunkin, Milo White, Anne McDuffie, and Ann Vandervelde;  Opsins (Cindy Michelle Collins and Monica Lisette-Sanchez); The Portrait Collective (K.J. Bateman, Peggy Murphy, Cynthia Yatchman);  Cynthia Yatchman.

The exhibition opens at 4:00 pm on Saturday, April 23, 2016, with a panel presentation on artistic collaboration from 4:30 – 5:15. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm through Friday, June 24, 2016. Tours by arrangement: David Francis, Public Art Coordinator, 206-801-2661;

Additional details will be available soon on the Shoreline Public Art web page,

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Portraits for a New Year

We took a long break over the holidays. The first day back is always hard. It's as though I forget how to draw if I am away from it.

These paintings are from before Christmas. Results continue to vary in terms of a recognizable likeness. "I Was Only Dreaming" came from a sketch of Peggy Murphy and morphed into something completely different.  I used color for the first time in this series and ended up up wiping most of it away.

"Volcano" is a self-portrait and is a good likeness of a much younger me. 

"I Was Only Dreaming"
printing ink on Yupo    18"x14"

printing ink on Yupo  14"x18"