Monday, December 23, 2013


My blog, this blog, about what turns the light on for me; from writing it since 2011 I have really learned about myself, my art, what I cannot live without.  What I need in my life that is the fuel, the soul of my paintings.  One image/thing that makes me stop and stare is a tree.  The lush color, the branches tangled, straight, crooked, and the shapes of the leaves, etc.  Here are some photos I have taken & some paintings that have emerged.


No matter what time of day you can
always see the branches


In winter the branches look
like lines, sketches


Friday, November 8, 2013


Painting with colored pigment and hot wax.

Shoreline Observation I

Shoreline Observation II

I have been painting since 1996 and along the way I have met many, many talented artists. 
Over the last couple years it has been a delight to meet artist, Jane Michalski. My two cents; her pieces are cool and soothing.  The color blending reminds me of how clouds glide together forming rare shapes blurring into the sky. She was kind enough to grant me an interview.

What was your first art experience as a kid?
When I was very small I watched a Saturday morning TV show, I can’t remember the name. There was an artist who gave drawing lessons and I would watch and try to copy what he did.  My parents encouraged me and bought me art materials. I also used to copy pictures of flowers out of books. In school I always loved art and remember getting special attention for being able to draw.

Where did you grow up?
I am originally from Wisconsin; living in a couple different towns in the southeastern part of the state. My family eventually ended up back in the town I was born in, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; my parent’s home town. I really only lived there for two years while I finished high school, then I moved to Milwaukee to attend college at UWM where I got my BFA and met my husband, Frank.

Tell me about your family: What occupations did your parents have when you were a child; Do you have siblings & what do they do?
My father, John Lubbers, was the Director of Social Services for the different counties that we lived in.  The only way he could advance his career or get a raise was to move to a different county because he was head of the Department.  That’s why we moved 4 times while I was growing up. I was always very proud of what he did, even though he was sometimes known as “the Welfare Man”.  My family was old school liberal and believed in helping others and trying to make a difference in society. My Mom, Pat, stayed home while I was young but eventually went back to work when I was in junior high school.  She worked as a secretary at the West Bend Company; what we now call being an executive assistant. I have two sisters and one brother. My older sister Anne and I were only about a year apart and spent a great deal of time together as children. We played outside a lot and because we were in small towns, we would be out exploring in the woods or walking around with a great deal of freedom.  We spent more time catching frogs, watching birds and exploring than playing with dolls. Anne went on to study Plant Ecology and is a Biology professor at Centre College in Danville.  My younger sister, Julie, followed more of the Social Work path and works for Milwaukee County as part of a team that helps foster families and children. My “little” brother, John Jr, has worked his way up to a County Supervisor in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

3 North Point Observation

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in art?
I originally had planned to major in Journalism. I felt that it combined writing and social activism; two things that I had an interest in. As a senior in high school, I was chosen to be the editor of the school paper. Somehow, by the end of the year, my interest in Journalism started to diminish; too many deadlines, perhaps. I always took art classes in school and made art on my own, so my interest there was strong. During the summer after high school graduation, I was reading and spending time a considerable amount of time by myself. I read different kinds of philosophy and poetry. One day I had a kind of Satori or strong realization that I wanted to study art further. It may have been an outburst of youthful idealism, but I also realized that it was a deep part of my personality and my true self.  My parents let me change my major and put off going to college for a few extra months so that I could apply to art school.

Do you have a place you go to for inspiration?
There is an outcropping of Silurian Bedrock along the shore of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan at a place that juts out into the lake called North Point. It is over 400 million years old and is within walking distance of my parent’s home and the street where my father grew up.  I am using a series of photographs taken there as the basis for a number of paintings.

What is the strongest influence in your life on your art?

I think that the strongest influence in life on my art comes from reading, observing, and thinking about what our journey in life is about. I read poetry, history, literature and like to keep up with current events.

In your art career, who have you met that has been the most helpful or mentoring?
I have many wonderful friends who are artists and I am grateful for the insights they have given me into their work or comments about my work that have helped me grow. I was introduced to Encaustic painting through following a hunch about wax media and googling it on the Internet. There I learned about the resurgent interest in encaustic and found the book: The Art of Encaustic Painting by Joanne Mattera.  Here in Chicago, I learned some basic things about encaustic technique by observing a demonstration by Kathleen Waterloo, and later had a chance to visit her studio and show work with her. Shelley Gilchrist was one of the first people to buy an encaustic painting from me and later went on to found Fused Chicago, a group that has helped further exhibitions, education and exchanges of information among local artists working in the medium. Artist and friend Monica Rezman, was fantastically honest with me about some of my early efforts and steered me onto a direct path. My dear friend Beth LeFauve, another amazingly talented artist and designer, taught me how to pay attention to details when hanging work and gives me constant encouragement. The fantastic Mary Ellen Croteau has invited me to participate in the 2014 Stockholm Supermarket Art Fair resulting in my first trip to and exhibition in Europe, which will be an exciting leap forward.

How has your work evolved from the first painting to the last?
I’ve worked in several different media including Acrylic, Oil, Pastel, Mixed-media Constructions and finally encaustic. I have most often worked in a non-representational style, with a brief journey through narrative work.  Abstraction appeals to me because I am aware of aspects of my perception and experience that are non-verbal.  The subtle differences in color, texture, and structure that make up my paintings provide an endless means of exploring this. Encaustic provides an engaging number of variations of those elements for me to explore.

What is your process? What are the steps to make a piece?
I start by making my own panels as the substrate for my paintings. I also make my own encaustic medium from cosmetic grade beeswax and dammar resin.  I use oil colors to pigment the melted wax. This gives me a lot of freedom to use colors of my choice and it is also more economical.  Most recently I have been using photographs that I have taken as sources of texture, color, light, and place; as starting points for the abstraction so that I avoid repeating myself.  I’m trying to avoid habits of repeated decoration. 
The painting is built up of layers of wax with each layer being heated or fused to the one beneath it. A variation in the translucency of the wax creates different color combinations. I scrape and score the wax to allow some of the color from layers underneath to reemerge. I work until I sense completion and a level of complexity that does not feel forced. There is usually a process of creating and destroying (by covering some things up) until this happens. 

North Point Observation II

What was the most fun (best) exhibit you have been part of?
The best exhibition I have been associated with was not one that I was in. This year, The Hairpin Arts Center was host to the Contemporary Arts Council’s exhibition The Presence of Absence; curated by Deb and Dave Tolchinsky from Northwestern University.
My role was to facilitate the curators and artists getting into the Hairpin and to manage the gallery after the show was up. Artist Paola Cabal created a painted installation piece on the wall of the Hairpin. I let her into the gallery every 2 weeks at 7 am in the morning so that she could make sunlight observations based on what she saw on the wall. Her final piece is a composite of her observations that looks like subtle reflected light. I was really happy to be part of her creative process in a small way. I got to see the work of inspired curator’s and artists being professionally installed and staged in the space.  Then I spent many hours with the wonderful work in the Gallery.  I got to see a truly professional team put together a museum quality show.

If you could curate an exhibit who/ what artists would be in your lineup?
I have produced and curated a number of different shows both for Milwaukee Avenue Arts festival, and for the Hairpin Arts Center.  In 2012, I co-curated a show called AREA for the Hairpin Arts Center that was an exhibition of artists from the Logan Square/ Avondale neighborhoods.  We have some wonderfully talented artists here. That show included Ani Afshar, Lynn Basa, Mary Ellen Croteau, Tracy Kostenbader, Anna Kunz, Beth LeFauve, Monica Rezman, Julie Sulzen, Rosemary Warner, and Dan Zamudo.

Echo II

What is your take on the Chicago art scene?
It seems like there are a multitude of Chicago Art Scenes, just like there are many different neighborhoods and all of them have interesting things about them to discover.

What are your 5 favorite places in Chicago?
 The stone wall under the North Avenue Bridge at the Kennedy expressway; the view of downtown along the Chicago River or driving in from the Ohio Feeder ramp, The Lurie Garden at Millennium Park, Lake Michigan Horizon seen from anywhere, Logan Blvd. in April when the leaves have just come out.

Your idea night out in Chicago would be?
Any time I can get out, it’s great.

What are you reading?
 I have two books on loan from the Library in my Kindle: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, and A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire book 4 by George Martin

What is your favorite music, song, singer, band, etc? 
I like a fairly eclectic mix: Florence and the Machine, Arcade Fire, James MacMurtry, older Leonard Cohen, come to mind. Sometimes my husband & I just grab some vinyl from our old collections and just go back in time.

What other talents or passions do you have?
I do a substantial amount of Gardening, both flower and vegetable.  I have been devoting an insane number of hours volunteering on the board of the Logan Square Chamber of Arts trying to launch the Hairpin Arts Center at 2800 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Avondale. It has been a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with other community members and artists trying to create programming and run an arts center.

If you were not doing art what would you be doing?
I can’t imagine not doing art.

Catch Michalski's upcoming exhibit: 
Super Market Art Fair in Stockholm, Sweden in February 2014.

Saturday, November 2, 2013





Friday, November 1, 2013




Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



Few more days left until the
Day Of The Dead.
Check back & subscribe to blog
by clicking JOIN THIS SITE.

Monday, October 28, 2013



Next Exhibit
Friday November 1, 2013 6-10pm $20
Special Olympics Silent Auction
3758 South Union
Chicago Illinois 60609

Here is painting that is part of silent auction.
Come out and place your bids.
It's for a great cause!

"Elevation" 20x20

Saturday, October 26, 2013



My blog, this blog, is about all the things that affect my art. What I discovered through writing this blog is that music is a top factor. I always knew it was important, but now, I know I could not paint without it; and so I just wanted to share my latest music obsession: JJ Gray & Mofro.  I went to my very first JJ Gray & Mofro show and it was on fire!  The funk sound ignited everyone. His voice reminded me of Joe Cocker and his band of the Blues Brothers; big horns, electric base playing & steel guitar were awesome.  The long pieces reminded me also of the Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic concerts.  The beat got the crowd off their feet and you could not stop bouncing around. Their opening band was the Revivalists who complimented the whole show. Both bands had a wonderful southern charm that made everyone want to back up and leave this bitter cold city for the French Quarter or Florida. By far one of the best concerts I've been to this year.  

Friday, October 25, 2013



Here are are a few 
Day Of The Dead events.

Now- December 15,2013
Day Of The Dead Tours

Friday November 1,2013
34th Annual Day Of The Dead
Efebina's Cafe

November 2, 2013 7pm
Day Of The Dead Ball $35

Thursday, October 24, 2013



Check out this week's ARTinerary©

Friday, October 25, 2013

Part 1: 

6pm Endless Death Exhibit @ LaLlorona Gallery @ 1474 W Webster (Day Of The Dead Event)

Part 2: 

7pm @ JJGray & MoFro Show $29 @ The Vic @ 3145 N Sheffield 

Part 3: 

11pm/After concert @ Cheesie’s @ 958 W Belmon

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



Check back tomorrow
for skull 23.

Get on the invite list when
LIKE my art page.

Monday, October 21, 2013



Contact me to purchase a skull print for $5.00+Shipping

Thursday, October 17, 2013



Date night idea, bored, out of town guests, just moved to Chicago? Try this fun plan.

Friday October 18, 2013 ARTinerary©

Part 1:
6pm @
Eno @ 505 N Michigan

Part 2:
8pm $19 @
A Pack @ Chicago International Film Fest @ AMC @ 322 E Illinois

Part 3:
10pm @ Zebra Lounge @ 1220 N State

Check back tomorrow for next skull and follow ARTinerary© each week on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013



Here is another holiday treat for
Day Of The Dead.


4 cups type "00" flour 
3/4 cup sugar
1 7-gram package active dry yeast
3/4 cup lard
1/2 tsp. anise extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped

2 egg whites
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. rainbow sprinkles

1. For the cookies: Preheat oven to 475°. Combine flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add lard and anise extract and beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until mixture is flecked with pea-size pieces of lard, about 1 minute. Add baking powder and I cup water and beat until mixture is crumbly, about 30 seconds. Add raisins, vanilla extract, and I cup water and mix well. Add walnuts and almonds and mix until dough forms a ball.
2. Divide dough into thirds. Roll each piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface into 6" x 9" rectangles. Cut each piece of dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise at 1" intervals. Use your fingers, press corners to round off edges. Put cookies on un-greased baking sheets about 1/2" apart. Transfer cookies to oven, reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake until pale golden, 20–25 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake until cookies are golden brown, 2–3 minutes more. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to cooling racks. Cover with clean dish towels and set aside until completely cool, 30–45 minutes.

3. For the icing: Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff  peaks form. 1 1/2-2 minutes. Add sugar and lemon juice and beat on high speed until icing is glossy, 1 minute. Spread about 1 tsp. icing on top of each cookie and sprinkle with some of the sprinkles while icing is still wet. Set aside until icing is hard.

Monday, October 14, 2013



For Chicago Artist Month I participated in Sunday Afternoon At La Gran Manse, curated by Tricia Van Eck. It was a lovely fall afternoon in a grand old mansion at 6018 North Kenmore.  The event was an artist talk with three artists.  Our work was shown and the guests had a discussion about the work and asked curious questions and dissected the art and artist.  I was very happy about getting to join this event and I got to meet brilliant artists, Phil Peters and Gregory Chapuisat.

Here are a few photos from the day.


Save the date for my next exhibit:
November 1-30, 2013
LaGrange Park Library
555 North. La Grange Road
LaGrange Park, Illinois 60526