Sunday, November 23, 2008


I had the pleasure of finishing two closets recently - not nearly as large, messy or photogenic as the one above. Closets must often be one of the last things finished on any home renovation or construction - well maybe baseboards are the last but closets are a close second.

Yet having new closets is a deep pleasure - beyond the joy of having a place to put shoes where the puppy can't chew them - making me wonder why it is so enjoyable to create spaces for hiding things. Do I have this psychological need to conceal or just the desire to create visual space by banishing clutter?

I am an American - culturally predisposed to airing my dirty laundry - so what is this obsession with closets? Stories are made to be told, clothes to be worn, food to be eaten, books to be read - not all tucked away in specialty holding places. So how come I love journals, closets, pantries and libraries?

In my more benign moments, I think my squirrel habits are not a way to hide but a way to make sure that when I need something it is there. How much more positive to think of our storage places as repositories of our treasures, holding them at the ready for when we need extra layers, canned goods or reminding of our special histories.

Stuffing something into a closet can be good but taking out just the right thing at just the right time may be the greater pleasure. In these cold, raw, gray days of November, I need to delve into well-filled closets and cupboards and bookshelves to find my gloves and rice and perhaps some prizes I forgot I collected for just this moment.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Today is my 49th birthday. I really like the number 49. My favorite mathematical operation is multiplication probably because of its relationship to pattern making. I still remember learning the tables up to 12. I especially liked squaring numbers. 36 and 64 are such round numbers but 49 is a great square of a lucky angled prime number and only obtainable that way. There is something unique and crisp about 49.

Nine is a a good number for me. I have individual memories of earlier ages but the first age I really remember being is nine. When I was nine, I was in fourth grade, Mrs. Turgeon was my teacher and I read every Nancy Drew mystery. It was such a touchstone that for years I could tell what grade I had been at particular age by comparing it to nine - I must have been 12 in seventh grade because I was nine in fourth, I was in second grade when I was seven because I was in fourth when I was nine.

The zero birthdays always get big celebrations and signify change but there is something special too about nine birthdays. The last year you are in a particular decade. Maybe they seem special to me because I was born late in the month, late in the year, in the last year of a decade. I get an extra click as I pass that certain point in the circle of the seasons.

Monday, October 20, 2008


This entry was started more than a month ago. Now we regularly wake to widespread frosts . . .

A few weeks ago on an early morning walk I came across a patch of frosted ferns and grasses. It was a cool morning – too cool for mid-September – but I hadn’t seen any other frost. The spot was lovely with the light making each crystal glow and a bit eerie highlighted by its differences – a textbook microclimate – a spot that differs from the surrounding area. Now I have been thinking about how we each create our own microclimates - sometimes purposely and sometimes in a less examined way. We create the conditions, the metaphorical south facing slope or low valley, which in turn nurture or constrict our growth.

I recently read two articles, one on parenting and one on politics, that stated how little people’s opinions are influenced by science or other objective data. Once set, we are reluctant to let in anything that does not support our existing beliefs. In the case of politics, the author mentioned how data that refutes a thesis can even be used to support that thesis through denial of the validity of the evidence or disparagement of its source.

So now the question is how Art – definitely in this case with a capital A – can moderate these tendencies. Is expressing ourselves creatively a way to share our microclimate with others – a way to cross the boundaries of difference through communication? Can the artist’s willingness to delve into her own microclimate, study it, question it and reconfigure it in dialogue with an audience be a catalyst for others to step outside their own boundaries?

Specifically, as a visual artist, can I effectively interrupt the viewers’ status quo long and deeply enough to breach the divide. And if so, how best to do this, through shock, through beauty, through subtle effects that stay with the viewer and influence gently?

The purpose of art is not the same as the purpose of propaganda or persuasion. I have no desire to dictate or mold a viewer’s response. The goal is not unity of thought. But I do have a wish to elicit a response strong enough create change . Change - a word used in this season every year but this year a word we can not escape.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Fallow - left unseeded for a period of time after plowing in order to recover natural fertility - is a word I have a distinct memory of learning the meaning of - an elementary school classroom, a vocabulary list from a unit on agriculture, a new concept, newly named. It wasn't until later that I heard it applied to personal times of rest and now that is way I most often use it. My cycle of creativity doesn't always align with seasonal cycles but often a time of productivity and harvest or exhibit will be followed by a pause in studio work to regroup.

My mother remembers me spending days creating worlds in my closet - leading her to think I would be a creative genius - followed by a day of watching four Elvis Presley movies back-to-back - leading her to think my brain was turning to jello! Now my fallow times are full enough of house and land tending, reading, walks and cooking. Activities that function as cover crops for me - enhancing the soil, providing depleted nutrients.

This fallow time I am writing more, trying to quiet my mind so I can glimpse something I perceive to be there - around some psychic corner. I am making a conscious effort to remain unseeded, waiting for natural fertility and growth, knowing it will come if not in what form. I am courting clarity of direction from the fog of possibility not directly by working but indirectly by clearing space and waiting.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I've had a long break from blogging which is its own story but I thought I would start back with some writing I did for my exhibit called Stories up through August 14 at Isalos Fine Arts in Stonington. The image above is of a new piece from the show titled Tattered Messages.

These are my stories on the walls of this gallery, on the pages of this catalog, told in the manner that suits me best, a blend of ways of making learned through education and experience and melded to create my own vocabulary.

I first turned to textiles after a childhood in suburbia with a working mom, one who didn’t sew. Off to a sophisticated east coast art school and feeling lost among my more mature fellow students, I slowly taught myself the secrets of fabric and fiber and chose needle and thread rather than the pencil or brush or camera to start to tell my stories. Traditional media for my gender but new to me, the lines came easier, the shapes revealed themselves and the particular joys of layers and textures were mine to work with.

Another shift, a random evening watching someone make paper from scraps pulverized in a blender and the recognition of connection. Handmade paper opened up more possibilities of translucence, of softness and stability. A more formal course followed along with the acquisition of equipment and skills. Growing up in my family bookstore made the choice natural, from stories written on paper to stories written with paper.

More time, more materials I could call my own, more embedded stories. Building a house brought wood and nails and structure. Having a baby created smaller units, pieces fashioned over many days in smaller bits of time. Loss and letting go led me to incorporate found objects with their own histories, rusted, broken and burnt.

How can we not tell stories every moment? The stories may be uncomfortable, complicated, best left half-told but they come out again and again in what we make, the way we move, the words we choose, the clothes we wear and our simplest gestures towards others. Forgotten, flawed, coded, layered, embellished, personal, universal, straight or with a twist, they wrap us with comfort as we take each plain or fancy piece and weave them into an ever-shifting whole.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Not much time to blog lately. I have been busy tearing down walls and ripping up flooring in my new house. Someone commented that all this destruction seems to be energizing me. It is true that there can be pure joy in raw movement, more restrained passion in the finesse needed for building or rebuilding. But the most energizing thing about destruction is the space it creates for envisioning a different future. While I am prying boards or crumbling plaster, my mind is seeing room for a kitchen, a bigger studio, better flow through the hallway, more storage. In the same way, when I tear or cut into one version of a piece I am working on, I am reordering a pattern that has become too staid, improving the balance in a composition, making a hole to drop in an unexpected element or even creating the occasion for an interesting repair.

I love how the Hindu goddess of destruction, Kali, is pictured with many arms to hold both the weapons - tools of destruction - and trophies. I want to hold several aspects of each piece even in the midst of changes - parts that work, parts that will fall away, parts that work and still will need to go to make way for the new and most especially the parts that I will discover in the midst of the destruction, the line of color exposed by a tear, the niche that can now fit into exposed framing.

I was making a quiche this weekend and thinking about the saying - "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs." Even as I am holding the perfect smoothness of the egg, I am looking forward to the rich yellow custard surrounding broccoli. The crack against the edge of the bowl, the blow through the plaster, the ripping of layers, the stark sounds of destruction echoing with the whisper of new beginnings.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I tend to find the bigger holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter - rather complicated. I enjoy the smaller, sillier days of celebration - Groundhog Day, April Fool's, Arbor Day - markers of the season that have the smell of paste and construction paper. In elementary school, they were often an excuse for artmaking - maybe that is the appeal.

Today I was thinking about the the ability to be fooled and how it changes over time and circumstance. I have memories of times when I was able to truly fool someone or times when I was totally taken in. The masked anticipation of the fooler, the necessary innocence or distraction of the foolee and the joyful, rueful moment when all becomes clear.

The best pranks are lightly constructed - relying on a structure already in place and then diverting from it just enough to make the joke. The fooler and the foolee share a vocabulary which makes the joke work and more connections can take the prank or story to a deeper level. I may laugh at the NPR's clever fake news stories but I can be taken in completely by the custom-tailored tall tale. The one to be fooled must be open to the trick on some level for it to work. Children, who are so often open and present, are easy to fool. As we build our layers of experience, it is harder to reach through our defenses but unexpectedly rich and satisfying when we do.

I have been thinking about all of this in relationship to the connection between artist and audience. As audience, we connect to art that references our daily life in some way but also presents possibilities we haven't imagined. We have to be open to a new way of thinking, feeling and seeing, willing to be tempted away from our usual paths and constructs, vulnerable to the uncertainty of the unknown.

As artists, we use just the necessary amount of skill and craft to construct a world and then wait with anticipation for our viewer to connect - to "get it." Stretching ourselves, we rely on others to come out on the limb with us, pulled along by details that resonant with their own lives. We can set up the situation and create the initial impulse but the art happens - like the joke - in a space we can not control, in the space between what we have created and the willing audience.

So let us all be open to being fooled, today and every day, open to making art, smelling paste and diving into that space.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Long gone is the time when there was any newness or shock value in using appropriated images in fine art. Many artists use images, usually altered in some way, that are easily recognizable as another artist's work. Many use photographs and drawings as reference without crediting the original creators. And there is also the more subtle copying of styles or motifs from other artists or other cultures. How do we feel about this as artists? When do we go beyond being inspired by another's work as source material to copyright infringement - in the spirit or letter of the law? What amount of alteration makes an image our own? Is this different for an image produced via camera or a computer than one that comes from an artist's hand? Is it different if the image was produced as art or for another purpose? What about text, readable or not, a favorite quote, journal pages, shopping lists? For each of us, there is a personal and shifting scale of answers to these questions.

All of this came to mind because of a recent guerrilla art event. I have pieces in progress pinned to my studio wall and I have one friend who sometimes wanders in and adds random elements to the work. Sometimes she adds parts of other unfinished work or materials laying nearby, once it was some money she owed me, once it was one of my daughter's drawings. I appreciate this form of communication both as greeting and as a way for me to see my work differently.

This time she slid an image of Frida Kahlo into an empty niche. The card was a reproduction of one of Frida's self portraits and the scale, colors and gesture really fit the spot. I left it there as I worked on other pieces and thought a bit about the possibility of working the literal card into the finish. It is an iconic image, recognizable even if altered. Although I am interested in Kahlo's life and work and my piece references the female form, using the card didn't feel like part of my vocabulary. So I'm back to not knowing what I will put in the nook but now whatever I create I am grateful that it will have the ghost of Frida informing it.

I am not a purist when it comes to appropriation. I collect and use discarded work from my daughter, students and other artists. I trace and scan and use reference photos and drawings as much if not more than I draw from life. I've started to use family photos as well, abstracted and altered or directly copied. I decide based on aesthetics and my own sense of rightness. My scale changes over time and depending on the venue - something I would use in a gift, I might not use in a piece made to be shown and sold. I find my own limits stretching with these questions.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


One of my favorite textile techniques is piecing. Usually associated with quilt tops, piecing is the simple act of joining smaller pieces into a larger whole. The image above is from a collection of quilts from Gees Bend. These quilts have been recently recognized for their strong graphic sense and unusual color combinations. They are far from the tradition of precise cutting of new cloth to specific shapes which are joined into planned and graphed patterns. They share a strong color sense with Amish quilts but are looser and reveal their origins as rags and leftovers.

When working with paper, I often start with a version of strip piecing. Long strips are glued or stitched together, then sliced apart perpendicularly or at an angle and reordered and joined again. This is often a preparation step for me, done for the joy of combining color, textures and patterns and without a specific use in mind. I work with a whole range of sizes and shapes, precisely cut quarter inch strips, roughly torn papers, color all in a family or narrow tonal range, dramatically contrasting hues and values. Sometimes I am cutting into fresh sheets and other times I'm combining leftovers from other work. At some point I run out of one of the papers or the field seems big enough or I just move on to other things and that section is finished.

I'll keep these sections pinned to my work walls, pin them near whole sheets of paper, prints, paper cuts or other materials I am thinking about. Sometimes I cut them apart again and add other elements. Sometime I cover them with a wash of color that unifies the surface but still allows the variation of papers to show through. At some point they become a right element to fit into a particular piece.

It is often at this point that they start to share a sensibility with the Gees Bend quilts. Inevitably I do not have quite enough of one type of these pieced parts to fill the space allotted in my composition. So I cut areas apart and rejoin them to the proportions now needed. The patterns break down into smaller units as I eke the last square inch out of a certain set of papers. I float the pieced parts on a new field of color leaving a contrasting edge or I add new elements to stretch what I already have.

In words this process sounds a bit tedious but in my reality, it is quite satisfying. The constraints leading to a richer solution, the gift of the unplanned moments and the bittersweet of compromise.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


The picture above has little to do with this content but it is posted by popular request from a loyal and careful reader (my mom). It is the house I am in the process of buying on Deer Isle. I first came to Deer Isle in 1982 to Haystack to take a course in hand papermaking. It rained for the first 16 of the 19 days I was here - it was July - and I still moved here full-time in 1991. The house above will be the fourth place I have lived on the Island.

One of the prevailing aspects of life here is the underlying texture of belonging to place. People from away will introduce themselves with their number of years of residence, full or part-time and stories of how they found this place. Locals rattle off rapid family trees including families of origin and marriage, businesses, houses and at least one Eaton. In some circles, I am one of many transplants with extra cred for years of residence and raising a child here. In other circles, I am one of the few to come without a local history - parents, grandparents and gravestones.

Friday I drove to Portland for an errand for the office, to see some art and to hear a band. On the (rainy) drive home I was thinking about a piece I saw by Lisa Young an artist from Providence, the only city I have ever lived in. It was a in many ways a very simple piece but one which captured a sense of place in its scope. The installation consisted of 365 4"x6" rectangles mounted in a calendar format - blocks of seven columns and four or five rows arranged in four columns of three. Overall the arrangement set up a pleasing rhythm of many blues and grays - from intense turquoise to a gray bleached of all tint - interrupted by white at the change of month. Specifically each rectangle was a photograph of the sky each day for a year. The photographs were printed on matte paper and read as small paintings or washes of color.

The work referenced time passing but also a sense of belonging to place. It wasn't landmarks or distinguishing characteristics that made the piece from a particular place but rather the commitment to notice and record one moment of each day. It is a very intimate way to connect to a place in a small scale and relatively short time period. What was interesting to me was how powerful the accumulation of this simple gesture was.

I like that as a goal - to choose one thing to notice and to record it regularly. The collection of data will automatically track changes and in the cyclical nature of change reveal patterns. Maybe I'll start with the spring equinox, balanced between dark and light - a natural new year.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Transitions - where one thing ends and another begins. Sometimes they are sharp, clear lines, easily discerned, other times the shift is so gradual that it is hard to say where the exact separation is.

So it is in my work as I consider how one color will lie next to another, one material will nudge into another or one pattern will disintegrate as another coalesces. Some of my edges are crisp - contrasting, cut, folded, exact - but the nature of paper lends itself to fuzzy edges as well - subtly blended, torn, feathered, deckled.

One of the things you can work with when you make paper is the quality of the deckled edge. The deckle is the frame that lies on top of the mould and controls the way the pulp drains. A tight fitting deckle with a finely beaten pulp will produce a smooth, even edge, like tearing paper with the grain against a ruler. A looser deckle and/or "threadier" pulp will produce an edge with more variation as some fibers slip under the deckle and spread into lacey patterns. You can even lift the deckle during draining to increase this effect.

I like to play different types of edges against each other in my work. The meandering edge framed by a crisp line, the rigid form interrupted by an errant smudge or thread. I also like to accentuate the transitions with an added line or edge treatment, tricks borrowed from dressmaking where an edge will be trimmed, piped or visibly hemmed. In traditional Japanese dress, several full robes will be worn underneath just for the thin lines of color marking the edge of an opening.

In life, we may use a ritual to mark a transition, to provide the break between patterns. In my pieces, I try to consider each transition and how I want to honor its own edginess, with strong demarcation or seamless blending.

Maybe it says something that I chose to live in a place where the edges change noticeably throughout the day and night. Seen or unseen, the tides move the line of transition between land and sea, changing the shape of our Island, decorating the edges with lines of seaweed or ice, with long transitions of flat sand skimmed with water or sharp contrasts of waves lapping at rocks and road.

Friday, February 22, 2008


This week I have been redoing my website in a new – and supposedly easier – software program incorporating images of my latest work. Sometimes this feels like something outside of my “real work” although it is documentation that allows my work to be known by a wider audience through exhibits, galleries, teaching, etc.

When I first started documenting my work back in high school, the process began with having slides and sometimes prints shot by a professional photographer. Each piece would have full shot and at least one detail. For sculpture, alternate views were necessary. Dupes were expensive and often of lower quality so I would have as many copies shot as I could imagine ever using. Then all these slides had to be labeled and organized into sheets or slide boxes.

Now I still get my work photographed by a professional but he gives me digital images all loaded onto one disk and just a few slides. The slides might not even be necessary but I’m not ready to trust the record of my work to digital media alone.

I love having a website. It is one of the easiest ways to let people see images of my work - simple for me and simple for the viewers.

But of course the site only contains reproductions and reproductions are not the real thing. For a few years, I was part of a program through Seamark Community Arts to introduce K-5 students to famous works of art (the program still goes on just with different volunteers). It was some time before I realized I had to explain how the poster representing the painting was different from the actual painting and how many copies of the poster could exist but only one original. I think most of the kids really didn’t understand why this distinction was so important to me. We are so used to seeing reproductions everywhere from high-end giclĂ©e prints to mouse pads.

Reproductions are not only influenced by the quality of the image but also by the method of viewing. I’ll tweak the images on my computer to represent the actual pieces accurately only to have them seem washed out on another monitor or in another program. I tell myself that this is not unlike poorly printed reproductions in books or magazines or slides projected in a light-filled room or merely held up to a window but I still don’t like it.

And there are other compromises. I can choose to build each element of the site myself and have more graphic options or to use the fonts and spacing that my web design software supports. It is similar with this blog - graphic options are limited to certain templates but it is very easy to use.

So I try to tread the path between attention to detail and obsession, to put my time into the aspects that matter the most to me. I try to remember all the wonderful art I know only through reproduction and the joy of seeing it person when I can. We have a wonderful ability to discern the essence of even poorly reproduced images.

So visit my updated website, love my new work and find a way to see it in the flesh someday.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I clipped this photo from a magazine years ago. I didn't write any information on it so I'm not sure whose hands these are. I have a book of photographs of Georgia O'Keefe taken by her husband Alfred Stieglitz between 1917 and 1930 (they married in 1924). Many of them feature her hands either alone or in relationship to her face. This photo reminds me of them but seems too cute for that pairing.

I admit I was totally gaga about Georgia O'Keefe when I was in high school and college probably because she was the only contemporary woman artist familiar to the mass public and I was definitely part of that mass. Later I felt overexposed to her work and preferred other women artists as role models but she was my introduction to the idea that a woman's work could be as sought after as a man's.

I think I saved this photo because it shows hands as form rather than as tools. Our hands are such incredible instruments that we use everyday in a range of strong and delicate ways, from mundane to sublime, taking in the world through touch and sending our response back out. And in that give and take we find comfort, strength and understanding.

I work closely with my materials and even when using tools my hands are usually in direct contact. I feel lucky to have chosen media that allow me this intimacy. I like that I have built my hand skills over the years so certain motions seem to reside in my hands seemingly independent of my thinking mind. I like how the rhythm of these motions can be seen in the subtle variation of mark and surface. I also like bold unexpected moves - ones where I have to trust my hands and their memories to make the right mark, cut. tear or stain.

Work that I like often has a tactile sense, evidence of the hand of the maker. If sight is the sense that encompasses a breadth of information and smell is the sense that evokes the strongest memories, touch is the sense that makes the general specific and grounds us in the particular.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Friday I was listening to a radio program with a developmental psychologist who did some pioneering research in the "nature vs. nurture" debate. One study monitored infants reactions to new, non-threatening stimulus. Infants were grouped into three groups, 20% were high reactive, becoming agitated with any change, 40% were low reactive, barely noticing new things and 40% were in the middle. These babies were tracked for 15 years and as teens still held true to their groups. Many had developed skills to ameliorate their tendencies but their underlying personalities were still most comfortable with either routine or change.

My first college roommate arrived from Connecticut with stacks of Shetland sweaters and cords in a limited, tasteful range of pastels and neutrals. I was fascinated by the columns of stacked clothing, much repetition, small variation. It implied an ability to impose order that I could not even inspire to. I don't know if this meant she was a high reactive personality or her mother was but by Christmas break she had gone punk and her hair was dyed more colors than her stacks of sweaters. Still for all the mismatched pieces in her new wardrobe she limited herself to one color - black.

Variation on a theme is a common compositional device used in poetry, music, dance and visual arts. The combination of the meditative quality of repetition and the introduction of unexpected elements is interesting to both the artist and the audience. The question becomes - how much repetition vs. how much change? Some will be able to study an Agnes Martin painting for hours, delighting in the small range of variation of each mark and the overall sense of order. Others need the disparate components of a Robert Rauschenberg Combine to fascinate.

I love pattern both structural and surface and especially when the pattern is created by repetitive actions - folding, stitching, cutting, curling, hammering, etc. - but it is the introduction of the odd variation which make it work for me. I already use repetition within my pieces and at have times have worked in series as a way to use repetition over the course of several pieces. It is something I want to explore more especially in terms of duplicating the size and shape of pieces to intensify the contrast of content within each piece. It is not a natural constraint for me as my compositions often evolve intuitively and grow and shrink to their eventual "right" size and shape. But just think of the order and ease of display--

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I use hand and machine stitching in almost all my work. Machine stitches to join pieces and build textures, hand stitches to create line and define edges. I love working with a variety of stitches - zigzag and blanket on the machine, chain, stem, running and french knots by hand. Each stitch is a marker of time.

One of the things I am often asked about heavily stitched pieces is "how long did it take to make." It is a question I can never answer since each piece evolves over weeks or months of intermittent work often beginning with materials that I have already invested hours in transforming. Do I count only the time my hands are touching and changing surfaces? Do I count the false starts, wrong paths and dead ends? They are there embedded in the memory of the piece even if no longer visible. Do I count staring time, dreaming time? Every moment of my history that created the story I now convey?

Textiles tend to deal with steady accumulation, fiber into cloth, pieces into a whole, beads on a strand, stacked layers. You can see the growth stitch by stitch. Different media and techniques have different relationships to time. Watercolor or brush painting can take years of practice to acquire the ability to make the perfect stroke, executed in a moment. Clay has a time of transformation during firing, out of the hands of the artist.

I think as makers and visual artists we each are attracted to ways of working that resonant with our own stories, adding depth while making them visible.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Today is Groundhog Day, a day for looking for shadows and predicting the number of days until spring. It is a cross quarter day, halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The day in Maine to worry if your woodpile is more that half gone. I was always a little confused by the groundhog indicator. A bright shadow-causing sky like the one we have in Deer Isle today is a predictor of six more weeks of winter. Seen as bad news in much of the country but here and where I grew up near Niagara Falls, we would be glad to have only six weeks to wait until spring.

A shadow is a darkened shape on a surface that falls behind something blocking the light. The shadow is determined by the shape of the object, the intensity and angle of the light and the quality of the surface upon which it is being cast.

I have used silhouettes in some of my work and like the strength of the contrast between object and ground. Shadows and silhouettes both emphasize form by removing the distraction of interior detail. Finding forms that read well without modulation of color, tone and line is tricky but the botanical imagery I like often lends itself to this use.

I have been thinking about how to use shadow in my pieces. It seems so natural to try to work with shadows as I hold samples in front of light and admire the shadows they cast. Actually figuring out what part the shadows will play, how I will control the light source, how to create panels that will cast interesting shadows and also allow visual access to the surface where the shadows will be cast and what the color and quality of that surface should be make the process more complex. Shadows read most clearly against white or light-colored grounds and my palette tends toward darker and more intense colors.

But it is a good day to contemplate such questions - a cross quarter day.