Category Archives: Doors of Perception


The Art of Practice

It’s been 1 year and 10 days since I wrote my last blog post. Wait….what? I seriously can’t believe that much time has passed. It’s actually quite a bit unnerving.

I can’t even explain fully why it’s been so long. We’ll leave it at “the last year has been a roller coaster.”

I’ll cut to the present to tell you the opening of Doors of Perception is happening this Sunday! Mike and I worked our artistic tails off to get work finished (procrastination and artist block were definitely alternating parts of the year….), and we’re both excited to see the show finally hanging.

100 64 Squares

One of the pieces I finished was a grid of 64 6″ squares, the largest piece I’ve done to date at 5′ x 5′. I started the project with 100 squares in mind. Such a nice even number, I thought. A challenge!

OK. That’s a lot of blank boards when you see them all stacked in a large box on the studio floor.

Not too far along into the project, after I had to completely redo the first 9 squares, feeling overwhelmed about finishing, I decided that removing the outer line of squares was going to work just as well and would be much more manageable.

Work in Progress Julie Renfro

It wasn’t quite entirely a Plan B-type of situation, more of a course correction.

Art Practice

I learned over the past year that it’s important to have an art practice. There’s discipline involved in going out to the studio, every day, and working. Working. Whether you want to or not.

It’s not always fun, sometimes it’s quite difficult, but you do it anyway to keep moving the art you do forward in some way.

Even if it’s a very small step. If you keep working, even little bits a day, eventually you’ll finish something. It may not look like you originally intended, but it may just be magical enough.

Wow. It’s really up.

Facebook post by Janice Charach Gallery



Also posted in Art Making, Art Stories, Creative Life

Doors of Perception

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
Zen proverb

I’ve mentioned previously that Mike and I have been invited to be in a show in fall 2017, and that each artist has 21 feet of wall space. I think the word “yikes” might have been part of that very same mention (and if it wasn’t, it was certainly in my head).

What’s cool about this though, besides having a deadline, is the wonderfully big expanse of time between now and then. Almost exactly one year from now, in order to fill that space, I must have a few very large pieces, many smaller works, or some combination of both.

  1. this is scary because I have exactly zero finished pieces right now
  2. this is exciting because I have exactly zero finished pieces right now


[ Blank canvas no longer blank. ]

The gallery is the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield, MI. The show is titled Doors of Perception. There are a dozen or so local artists participating, and I feel honored to have been invited and challenged by the opportunity.

I see shimmering visions of my pieces hanging in that gallery, but at this point it’s unclear to me how to make the visions happen.

Weekly blogging was a Big Goal this past year, and having work for this upcoming show is my Huge Goal for the next year. A lot can happen between now and then, but initially I’m attempting to allow some space for playing with processes that will eventually get me to those finished pieces (one can hope).


[ Experiments include layering of different acrylic mediums. Originally I tried to get an encaustic-like effect, but I think I like the clarity of the clear gels more. ]


[ Using Golden’s High Solid Gel (Matte)… applied a little too thickly, but interesting. ]


[ A failed experiment with Golden’s Self Leveling Clear Gel. I think I applied too thick of a layer because it dried unevenly and also ended up with tiny air bubbles in it. ]


[ A waxy look created using a thin layer of an encaustic “recipe” applied with a brush and tiny bit of water. I’ve since found that Golden has enough different gels to create encaustic-like effects, so I don’t need to mix my own. Having said that, I think I like the colors to remain vibrant and clear. ]

So I haven’t given up on this blog, but I will be writing less frequently, and sometimes less intensely. I want to push myself, but not in a let’s-see-how-much-we-can-cram-into-24-hours kind of way. The challenge is to be more focused about a smaller number of things, one of which is art making/experiments. I do, after all, need a body of finished work in one year’s time.

Sounds easy enough.


Also posted in Art in Progress