Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I LOVE giving things away!  This one has some rules:

1. You have to be at my show to collect your prize.*
2. You must have a shoe size of 38 european (7/8).

Ok, that's all.  Make a sweet comment and you are in the drawing.  Sorry if you are far away, I'll make it up to you some day soon.

*David Ericson Gallery
418 S. 200 W.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Opening Reception
Friday, October 19, 2012
6-9 pm

Old Rinkrank Decoded

The Glass Mountain

This is a list of symbols and their meaning used in my Old Rinkrank series of paintings:
  • Yellow represents youth and innocence and unhindered hope as found in our heroine's dress at the start of her journey and again in the ribbon used to release Old Rinkrank's beard from the window.
  • The Glass Mountain is our perceived hopes and dreams.
  • Old Rinkrank symbolizes fear that holds us captive, preventing our potential greatness.
  • Red, whether fully exposed or covered and protected by sweaters or armor, is for vulnerability.
  • Dishes and Beds represent the everyday things that busily keeping us from progressing.
  • Gray and sweaters are for pondering; quiet on the outside while actively engaged in our inner landscape.
  • The Ladder is a tool to work our way out of a fix, to get us back on our mountains.
  • Armor is for determination, protection, and strength.
  • The Landscape is stylized as a tribute to Arthur Rackham, illustrator of the Brother's Grimm and other fairy tales and stories.
When she was at the top she opened the window
oil on panel

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Have Washed your Dishes, I Have Made your Bed

I Have Washed your Dishes, 
I have Made your Bed
oil on panel

How do you transcend your everyday norm to achieve the extraordinary?  The tale of Old Rinkrank is a parable that illustrates a method to overcome the failures and hinderances on your path of progression.

Before she had even recovered from her fall off of the glass mountain whose summit held the best of hopes and dreams she could imagine, Old Rinkrank found the princess and offered to let her keep house for him in exchange for preserving her life.  For years she remained in his house, washed his dishes, made his bed, and began to grow old.  Till that apocalyptic day when she locked all the doors and refused to let Old Rinkrank in.

Do you have an Old Rinkrank?  The thing that kept you from dusting yourself off after a fall and climbing back up the mountain.  Something that held you in place, going about your everyday motions long enough that you almost forgot your goals, hopes, desired outcomes.  I think Old Rinkrank is fear.  Fear of failure, afraid that you'll get your hopes up so high that the disappointment of the fall will hurt too much.  Fear of success, what if you get there after blood, sweat and tears and it's not all that great.

My favorite lesson I have learned from pondering on this tale is that it is not the pinnacle of the mountain where efforts come to fruition.  For one thing, the mountain peak I set my sights on years ago is anywhere from a hardly significant stepping stone on the way to a bigger better summit,  to an irrelevant hill I passed by on my true path.  The essence of progression is consumed from the wild berries gathered along the trail as you hike.  Berry by berry, step by step, small and simple is what brings you to a state of the extraordinary.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mother Mansrot

Mother Mansrot
oil on panel

Every morning my three girls and I meet on our back patio for fifteen minutes of yoga. I like to provide a visualization to take with us as we go about our day. A recurring theme is to internalize a breeze or imagine a river that will carry us from one task to the next, never stagnant, always flowing, all day long. This means physically moving the body with fluid energy through their doings, also keeping thoughts flowing and evolving from one idea to the next.

In Mother Mansrot our figure may be sitting absolutely still, but there is a river raging through her head. Her thoughts are churning and moving. This piece represents one of the most poignant moments in the Old Rinkrank tale. As Brothers Grimm tales often do, the story makes a jump without inner dialogue or explanation. After years of being held captive by Old Rinkrank, and doing his work day in and day out...”Then once when he was out, and she had made his bed and washed his dishes, she shut the doors and windows all fast, and there was one little window through which the light shone in, and this she left open.” After this she makes her big escape. Life’s path can be drastically changed in just a brief moment, with just a small bit of action. What is the prelude to a moment like this?

Sunday, September 16, 2012


On this Sabbath day, may your burdens be light and your soul filled with comfort and peace.

Miniature for Howard Mandville Gallery's Small Works Show in Kirkland, Washington. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Old Rinkrank

Old Rinkrank is a story in the Brothers Grimm collection of folk tales.  Some time last year I read it and could not get Old Rinkrank and Mother Mansrot out of my head.  Images have appeared in many a drawing and project, and have eventually found their way onto paintings.  My invitation to be in a show with my friend Jeff Pugh at David Ericson Fine Art gallery in Salt Lake City proved to be the ideal forum to delve in and unravel my obsession with this tale.  My paintings, explanations of interpretation and symbolism will follow.

Old Rinkrank:
There was once upon a time a king who had a daughter,
and he caused a glass mountain to be made, and said that
whosoever could cross to the other side of it without falling
should have his daughter to wife. Then there was one who loved
the king's daughter, and he asked the king if he might have her.
"Yes," said the king, "if you can cross the mountain without falling,
you shall have her."  And the princess said she would go over it
with him, and would hold him if he were about to fall. 
So they set out together to go over it, and when they were half way up the
princess slipped and fell, and the glass mountain opened and shut
her up inside it, and her betrothed could not see where she had
gone, for the mountain closed immediately. Then he wept and
lamented much, and the king was miserable too, and had the
mountain broken open where she had been lost, and thought
he would be able to get her out again, but they could not find the place
into which she had fallen. 
Meanwhile the king's daughter had fallen quite deep down into
the earth into a great cave. An old fellow with a very long gray
beard came to meet her, and told her that if she would be his
servant and do everything he bade her, she might live, if not
he would kill her. So she did all he bade her. In the mornings
he took his ladder out of his pocket, and set it up against the
mountain and climbed to the top by its help, and then he drew up the
ladder after him. The princess had to cook his dinner, make his
bed, and do all his work, and when he came home again he always
brought with him a heap of gold and silver. When she had lived
with him for many years, and had grown quite old, he called her
Mother Mansrot, and she had to call him Old Rinkrank. Then once
when he was out, and she had made his bed and washed his dishes,
she shut the doors and windows all fast, and there was one little
window through which the light shone in, and this she left open. 
When Old Rinkrank came home, he knocked at his door, and cried,
"Mother Mansrot, open the door for me."  "No," said she, "Old Rinkrank,
I will not open the door for you." Then said he,
"Here stand I, poor Rinkrank, on my seventeen long shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, wash my dishes, Mother Mansrot."
"I have washed your dishes already," said she. Then again he said,
"Here stand I, poor Rinkrank, on my seventeen long shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, make me my bed, Mother Mansrot."
"I have made your bed already," said she. Then again he said,
"Here stand I, poor rinkrank, on my seventeen long shanks,
on my weary, worn-out foot, open the door, Mother Mansrot
Then he ran all round his house, and saw that the little window
was open, and thought, "I will look in and see what she can be about,
and why she will not open the door for me."  He tried to peep in,
but could not get his head through because of his long beard.
So he first put his beard through the open window, but just as he
had got it through, mother mansrot came by and pulled the window
down with a cord which she had tied to it, and his beard was shut
fast in it. Then he began to cry most piteously, for it hurt
him very much, and to entreat her to release him again. But she
said not until he gave her the ladder with which he ascended the
mountain. Then, whether he would or not, he had to tell her where
the ladder was. And she fastened a very long ribbon to the
window, and then she set up the ladder, and ascended the
mountain, and when she was at the top of it she opened the
She went to her father, and told him all that had
happened to her. The king rejoiced greatly, and her betrothed
was still there, and they went and dug up the mountain, and found
old rinkrank inside it with all his gold and silver. Then the
king had old rinkrank put to death, and took all his gold and
silver. The princess married her betrothed, and lived right
happily in great magnificence and joy.

Instagram Ate My Blog

Wow, it's been a while.  I assure you I am alive and well.  More importantly, painting like a mad woman.  I have had the intention of playing catch-up, but would be entirely too much work.  Summer?  I don't even remember it, except it was lots of fun.

Summer 2012

You know what is a lot easier than assembling a blog post?  Instagram.  My handle is ecmcphie if you want to follow.  I have been keeping up regularly, maybe a little heavy on the small people, but I also post painting progressions as I work on various paintings.  I love watching how different artists go about their work. I am trying to show my process from start to finish.  I am working on a dozen paintings for a show at David Ericson Fine Art in Salt Lake City on 19 October.

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Paintings

Everywhere that Mary went, her lamb was sure to go.

Little Miss Muffet

These two new paintings were just delivered to Meyer Gallery in Park City.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

What I've Missed

Summer break had gotten me behind.  Truth is I'm having too much fun.  Before I get into that, here are a few things I missed:

I was interviewed via webcam (I tried to take on a news anchor persona, it felt like I was playing pretend) for snippets on an interactive website for the LDS Youth Art Competition.  It is a really neat website that gives inspiration and guidance on producing an artwork to submit to the show.  This is where I had intended to urge you to send your youth to the link and give it a go!  Unfortunately, the deadline has passed, the show has been judged, so it's too little too late.  Anyhoo, if you wish to see yours truely and a few other artists give their thoughts on symbolism, meaning, process and other interesting tidbits, go ahead and explore! It's super neat.

Next, the annual 300 Plates fundraiser at Art Access Gallery in SLC has come and gone, but here are the plates I sent off to the show.  They are a continuation on the theme of the Brothers Grimm tale, Old Rinkrank (or the Glass Mountain).  I can't seem to let it go, more on my interpretation of the tale in a future post, as I am starting a body of work for a show this fall which will have a few pieces on the theme, along with other tales.

Last but not least, I made a quick trip up to Utah for the opening of the LDS International Art Competition to receive a purchase award.  I felt so honored and it was a wonderful night.  I had a lot to say on the subject, but I forgot what that was...  If you are in Salt Lake stop by the Church History Museum and check out this great show.  (Make sure you cast of vote my way for the people's choice award while you are there!) 
My painting is in the lobby just to your right as you walk in. This is me and my lovely sisters at the Assembly Hall on Temple square just after the awards.

And this is my cute boy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Two Travelers /Painting Progression

The Two Travelers will be on display in the Springville Museum of Art from now till the first of July.  It was accepted into the 88th Annual Spring Salon. 

I am really smitten with the Brothers Grimm tales.  I love the "moral of the story" derived by the pecking out of eyes and other gruesome atrocities for the wicked versus happily ever after for the virtuous.  When I read these tales I often read them like a parable, looking for the desirable qualities of character and likening them to my self.  The habit of a bible-reading christian, I guess.
The Two Travelers is a tale about karma.  A tale that shows how what is in your heart leads to your actions and determines your fate.  I turned the two characters, a tailor and a shoemaker, into two sides of self.  Don't we all live with the conflicting qualities of jealousy and generosity, of compassion and greed, of honesty and denial inside our hearts and heads?  The question is which side will you favor.  Though the shoemaker did take one of the tailor's eyes out with his little knife, the eyepatch is there to symbolize introspection, searching out what lies in your heart.  Wickedness, which never was happiness, is a lonely place.  In contrast, goodness connects you to others who buoy you up with love and energy.  I like this painting.  It's one of my favorites.

As I painted the Two Travelers, I snapped pictures with my phone for tweeting purposes.  They aren't great pictures, and they are all taken at different times of day, so the lighting and temperature changes.  Despite imperfections, I love watching a painting progression, so I made a little movie/slideshow for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sunday Drawings/Flannel Board Fever

It's the year of the flannel board.  Between Pete's Christmas gift (a flannel board with nativity pieces) and Cass' piece in the 9th International Art Competition, I have flannel board fever.  So, General Conference had me drawing our first flannel board story.  We just finished reading the Book of Mormon as a family (whoop whoop) and are about to start again, so we are telling the story of Moroni, then leading into the first vision.
Process: I took a big piece of flannel, fused it (wonder under) with a pice of muslin, gessoed, drew with pencil, colored with colored pencils, cut out the pieces, and it's story time.  Next time I should let the kids help... 

I'm thinking of starting a flannel story exchange.  Any takers?  

Spring Break is over.  I sent my sweet babies back to school after 17 days of togetherness.  It was hard to let them go, but we had lots of fun while they were home.  Here is what we have to show for it. 

This used to be a CD shelf in Gavin's office. I spray painted it turquoise.  Then, together, we drew and painted on the back panel.  Now it resides in the studio and holds art supplies, of course!  

We also mod podged these little clip boards for the car.  One must not be too far from drawing supplies at any given moment.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Lines are having a Party

Once upon a time, the Lines kids let me take some very serious pictures of them.  Mr. and Mrs. Lines asked me to paint their children however I wanted.  Magic words.  The painting was finished and the frame arrived at six p.m. on Valentine's day.  So, I called Mr. Lines on the sly and he surprised Mrs. Lines that very night with a party portrait of their beloveds.  Such romance.  I hope she liked it. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day

Oh yes I did.
A pie on Pi Day.
It's raw, it's delicious, it's lemon.
The recipe was a super find on Pinterest.
I used lemons from my sweet friend's lemon tree.
I love Pinterest, and this pie, but I love my friend way more.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In the Studio: Baby Shoes

I heart felt!
And, I heart baker's twine!
 I made these super cute felt shoes for a baby shower gift.  I also gave my friend an Olivia book as an accessory to match the booties.  I used this template, with a few variations.  There are a lot of patterns, like this one and this one which is more simple, I'm trying it next. 
This was the first pair I made for baby boy.  They are soft and scrumptious and perfect till he crawls.  And sometimes they stay on for more than a minute.
Speaking of crawling, he is very close.  I set up the pack-n-play for bug-a-boo in the studio.  He loves it now, but any second I'm afraid he will want to bust out of there!  Oh boy, hide the polly pockets... and turpentine.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday Drawings

Today I was inspired by this article on an artist named Nnamdi Okonkwo.  He is from Nigeria and uses lots of fancy words.  I read it in an accent and it made it so much better.  

Last week (whilst writing my last post) I was inspired by this podcast. (Have I mentioned the Mormon Channel app on my phone yet?  I'm a little obsessed, I talk about it a lot.  On my morning runs, I listen to the programs.) This link is an interview with singer Alex Boye.  He is great and he has profound things to say on using your talents with faith.  It is seriously so inspiring and so good.

...A fitting end to black history month.

Friday, February 17, 2012

On Motherhood or On Being Mom/Artist

It has taken me a long time to get this post written.  It's a tough one because I have so many thoughts on the subject.  Especially now, as I am rediscovering what being mother means - the power and all the wonder and beauty of it.  I'm writing a treatise on motherhood.  I have a list going of "gifts" I want to give my children as their mother, lessons I want to make sure I teach them, and qualities of character I want to instill.  I think there is power in defining these things, especially in putting them in writing.  This installment on motherhood is dedicated to Brooke who emailed me a question.  I taught Brooke art lessons way back when she was in high school and I had one little baby.  Now, she has a baby and is searching for that balance, just as I was then, how to be an artist and a mom.

My response is going to come in two parts. Part one is the practical advise, that which I would have wanted to hear. The second is what I want to say on the subject now.

Part one answers, "how do you manage your time so you can be an Artist while being a mom?"  I get asked that question a lot.  The answer is organization.  I work so hard to stay organized, using all sorts of tools, like chore charts, check lists, and whatnot to keep myself and family on task.  I exercise and get ready for the day before the taking the girls to school, I clean the kitchen and read my scriptures by nine, I check five things off my running to-do list, and then, most days, I can go into the studio to paint until school gets out and I have to put it away.  And, I have worked really hard to teach my girls to be self sufficient.  When we get into a rut and recognize it's not working, we reinvent, restructure, flip it upside down and start something new.  I have some bizarre systems, but they keep me accountable to accomplish all the needful things.  It's hard work, it's really hard. You have to think, be creative and try to stay one step ahead!  Then, you have to carve out some specific time to work.  Even if it is a half hour at a time, and it seems like you are painting one square inch a day, something is better than nothing and it will add up.  The secret that I am going to whisper to you now is this: no one is going to give you the time to paint, you have to take it.  It requires a bit of selfishness. My biggest dilemma today is how to balance work time with all the other I could be doing.  I mean balance as a verb, constantly adjusting, acting and reacting.  There are a lot of good things I could be doing, and I have to put away guilt and doubt constantly.  I have learned not to try to justify the time I spend painting and question what my art is worth, but just get to work.  And if my intent is to glorify God, to create that which is good and uplifting, all will be well.  I am not about to have the audacity to say that in the end my art will have had the effect that my dad's has had on people, but I hope it does.  It is essential that you have an answer, with conviction, of why you paint.  So, why do you paint?  Write it down.  Put it where you can see it, read it every day.  Decide, then do it.  And be patient.  A drawing in your sketchbook counts, there will be a day when you can work 8 hours straight! (And your back will ache and you will wish you had a baby's neck to nuzzle.)  

Part two answers, "my biggest concern is that I will get too caught up in being a Mom that art will be set aside."  What I want to say is what could be more wonderful than being so caught up in being a mom that it overrides your desire to do something that you are passionate about.  But, I remember those early days of motherhood.  I went a little bit crazy after my third was born.  Like, Mad hatter crazy.  I mumbled incoherently and forgot to get out of my pajamas most mornings.  There were other factors playing, but mostly it was just having a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and baby underfoot, every day, all day, relentlessly needing.  And, I remember feeling like I was losing myself.  My body, my time, my energy, all was going to them, and my perception of self was becoming frail.  I worked so hard to keep painting during that time, desperately clinging to threads of me.  A lot of my paintings showed a separation of my mom-self and my me-self.  My apron strings were in knots and strangling me.  I saw the beauty in motherhood, but I was drowning at the same time.  Fine time for my professional career to take a leap.  I was in demand, I had come out with my Delia's Dream series, paintings with children.  It was a huge hit, I was in print!  I was being defined as a painter of children, and after that series I just couldn't do it anymore.  Little girls were everywhere, I needed them not to be in my paintings as well.  My paintings had to be me.  I needed to process the conflicting tangle in my head.  I think most mothers have gone through something like this, a fear of losing one's self.  It used to make my heat rise a little when the old ladies at the grocery store would tell me to enjoy every minute, because it goes by so fast.  As baby is screaming, toddler has to go potty and I am ready to pull my hair out!  But, I really get that now.  It does go by fast, so fast.  You don't have to enjoy every minute, but do enjoy some of them, lots of them, and those will be what you remember.  (That is what the old ladies are remembering.)  I loved each of my babies fiercely and took time to rock them an extra minute, breathing in their smell before I laid them down for a nap.  That is the stuff we remember.  We remember the crazy parts too, chuckling as we recall lipstick on every surface of the bathroom... and children.  Do what you have to do to hang onto yourself, take that time to be alone, to ponder, to work, to be with you.  Here is the magical thing that happens.  So gradually that you don't notice it happening. They get older, they start to think about things, you get to have real, meaningful conversations.  One day you have this aha moment when your daughter says something that sounds exactly like you.  You realize that your children reflect you in their thoughts, actions, mannerisms.  And there you are.  Your were there all along, and now you see yourself through them, more clearly than ever before.  Realizations about what you say, how you say it, what you are teaching them as they watch you become tangible.  It can be scary, but it is a beautiful thing.  Get caught up in it.  Get so caught up.  Let it inspire your art, let your art inspire your parenting.  Use your creativity, use your gift for expression to enhance the raising and rearing of your children.  Be an artist, be a mom, and let these aspects of you live in harmony.  Separating, crossing over, ebbing and flowing with every season of your journey.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Mustache you a Question

I hope your Valentine's day was full of Love.  I painted a huge chalkboard wall in my entry.  I will post all about it... when it is finished.  To my great pleasure, we discovered I had made a wonderful photo booth.  So, we made a prop, used some pinterest ideas, and put together these fantastic valentines for the girls to give out at school.  Look at me using photoshop! 

Yesterday we celebrated Arizona's 100th Birthday!  Very exciting, though I don't think Arizona was very happy to be one hundred.  It has been so warm, but yesterday it was overcast, rainy, windy, and cold.  Today, beautiful and sunny.  I think she was feeling old.  Oh Arizona, despair not, youth is a state of mind, not a number.  

Fancy? Yes, yes I am.  Thank you Kristin for the inspiration and Hun for the hearts.  This was actually Sunday hair, they got to dress up like cowgirls for the birthday celebration, so long braids coming out of cowboy hats were the order of the day. Lots of love and kisses to all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In the Studio

A multi-tasking stroke of brilliance: Combine Valentine cards with thank you notes for Christmas joy!  These are for my family.  I'm still feeling the love from all the beautiful, handmade, heartfelt Christmas gifts.  I was secretly crying whilst unwrapping.  Here are some of the highlights:
Sister-in-law Lisa made me a soup in a jar, lentil with dried apples and curry powder, but we ate it before I took a picture.  Really yum, must get recipe.  Soup in a jar, brilliant.
As if I'm not sentimental enough!  The bottom layers of these Valentines are the labels off the jars my sisters and I canned together.  I can't seem to throw them away.
I make baby food.
Happy Valentine month.