May 29, 2018

IN all things

ThessIf I see another self-help book or "be grateful/lean in/choose happy" life coaching messages from persons of privilege wanting so desperately to become our next guru, I'm gonna throw up. Which is why I was gonna pass right by a podcast episode interview with a woman named Diana Butler Bass who has authored a new book titled: Grateful.

But then I listened. And I'm glad I did. Bass is a white woman. She is a Christian. She is a Biblical scholar. She is aware of her privilege AND she is a practitioner of justice-based compassion.

She pointed out that in scripture, there is an important verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, regarding gratitude which reads:
"In all things, give thanks."

The operative word is IN. It doesn't say FOR all things, give thanks. It says IN all, things give thanks. So it's not about being grateful for my house, my car, my family, my clothes, my job, my, my, my, me, me, me, blessings, blessings, blessings, abundance, abundance, abundance, love, love, love, have, have, have, stuff, stuff, stuff, privilege, privilege, privilege, more, more, more.

It's IN. IN sickness, IN health, IN success, IN failure, IN happy, IN sad, IN anger, IN outrage ... IN all of it.

Part of the reason I've been so uneasy about the "be grateful" message (especially from people of privilege) is that there's this tacit qualifier that being grateful FOR involves turning a blind eye to reality (willful ignorance) because there's this thought that IN outrage or anger, gratitude can't be present. In other words ... "La la la ... let's not talk about all those angry black lives matter people ... let's stay positive and be grateful for all our blessings ... oh look, a bird!"

For me, gratitude and activism aren't mutually exclusive. I would argue that modern day social activists and leaders of social justice throughout history, including Jesus the Christ would agree. There was plenty of outrage that he and his followers battled when facing the money-grubbing, heartless, hypocritical Pharisees. And I would guess that if he were here today, he would join Colin Kaepernick to not only take a knee, but flip some fucking tables.

I like to wear a Susan B. Anthony coin as a pendant to keep it close to me as a reminder that IN outrage ... the kind of outrage that fueled her life's work to bring about the 19th Amendment to allow women to vote, there was an ability to practice gratitude and deep, profound fulfillment.

It hurts to be awake.

I think it hurts even more to not be.



May 28, 2018

620 Waltz with the Weird

Christine620 Waltz with the Weird
18x24 inches :: original acrylic on stretched canvas
Click here to buy
This is my demo painting from yesterday, when I was teaching a private portrait painting class to beautiful Christine. We referenced an image of Christine as captured by Nick Holmes for the work.

I guess Basquiat is still on my mind as I ended up infusing some of his aesthetic onto her top ... which spilled into her face and hair ... all a process of what I call "Waltzing with the Weird" ... where I encourage painters to take the representational abstract and push it to a point where it can waltz with the weird, waltz with the wild.

May 26, 2018

619 ShadowBell

Shadow619 ShadowBell
24x18 inches :: original acrylic and collage on stretched canvas
Click here to Buy
When I was a girl growing up in Bakersfield, one of the most wonderful things in my life was being part of the bell choir at First Congregational Church. It was directed by a woman named Eleanor who was dedicated to music, bells, we students in the choir, and most of all, her German Shepherd named Shadow. During rehearsals, Eleanor would bring all of us cut up apples and cheese to enjoy as snacks as Shadow watched over us and the beautiful sounds of the bells filled Plymouth Hall, the room where we practiced. I fell in love with German Shepherds because of Eleanor and Shadow.

This work was painted referencing a photo of one of the humans who comes to paint privately with me in the studio. Christine. She's been making such amazing strides. And she also loves her German Shepherd. Anyway, this is her German Shepherd. I also added collage with pink paper.

May 21, 2018

618 El Sol

Elsol618 El Sol
12x12 inches :: original oil painting with collage on canvasboard
Click here to Buy
I was recently at a dinner event to celebrate El Sol Academy, a public charter school in Santa Ana. I took an image of a historic house which is part of the campus, all prettily dressed up with twinkle lights. It's a building that is incubating lots of wonderful ideas for continued excellent educational programming. I referenced that photo to paint this work and then decided to add collage to it. El Sol ... y las estrellas brillantes.



May 12, 2018

617 Paris Ferris


617 Paris Ferris
18x24 inches :: original acrylic painting on stretched canvas
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I referenced an image of a Ferris Wheel by @sincerelyjules for this work.

May 02, 2018

616 I Am Titanium

Titanium616 I Am Titanium
6x8 inches :: original oil painting on cradled board
Click here to Bid or Buy
Recently when I was demo painting in my crowded studio during an art walk, I was feeling great as lots of people were giving me great feedback about my process, my subject, and my color palette. I felt so understood.

At one point, this guy came up to me and said "Duuuuddddeee are you using Titanium White?" And I said "Yeah, that's one of the tubes of paint I'm using." And then he said "Wow. That's my favorite color. I learned about Titanium White through a Bob Ross video. I think it's a totally awesome color!" And he hung around some more enjoying the scene, mingling with other people, and then went along his merry way.

I thought to myself: What a fun weirdo ... probably really stoned and definitely misunderstanding my work as he fixates on his funny penchant for Titanium White.

The idea of being misunderstood has sometimes gotten in the way of my expressing myself. But the thing I realize is that it's not the end of the world to be misunderstood. And sometimes, I think misunderstandings or misinterpretations can open up very unusual realities, dreams, and universes where new funky ideas can blossom. Like I can see a whole short story/musical built around this dude who loves Titanium White and who goes on to creating huge murals with lots of Titanium White while rocking out to music by Sia.

Speaking of music by Sia ... I just about collapsed when I saw Michael J. Woodard performing Titanium. What a performance. And what a song.

I referenced my paint tube and paint brush for this work. #allaprima #goldenartistcolors #titaniumwhite #sia #michaeljwoodard

You shout it out
But I can't hear a word you say
I'm talking loud not saying much
I'm criticized but all your bullets ricochet
You shoot me down, but I get up
I'm bulletproof nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won't fall, I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium
Cut me down
But it's you who has further to fall
Ghost town, haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I'm talking loud not saying much
I'm bulletproof nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am

May 01, 2018

Pam Garrison :: Studio Crescendoh July 28-29, 2018

Mixed Media Play
2-dayWorkshop :: July 28-29, 2018
with Pam Garrison

207 N. Broadway Street, Suite L
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Explore and expand your creative instincts with Pam Garrison as she guides you in exercises, demonstrations and play in mixed media art journals we’ll make on day one and wood panels she’ll provide. We’ll use water colors, acrylics, and other favorite mark making tools as she’ll bring all her favorite supplies to share. This class is appropriate for every level of artist.

Day One:
We’ll make mixed media art journals, crafted to be just your style, and then begin our experiments with mediums and marks on them. Lots of demonstrations, guided play touching on lettering, florals, doodling, colors, composition, abstract mark making.

Day Two:
We’ll take our play out of the pages and onto a wood panel that will be provided. We’ll continue our demonstrations and explorations and have great fun making art while learning and expanding your own creative instincts.

Please bring:
Favorite makers/pens/markers
Small selection of watercolor and acrylic brushes if you have them already
Water color set if you have one
Glue stick or favorite paper adhesive

All other materials will be provided. Class kit fee of $25 due and collected in class by the instructor.

  • Arrive & Settle: 9:00 :: Time for students to arrive, settle in.
  • Class Segment A: 9:30-12:00 :: Class time with Pam who will demonstrate and guide the 1st part of class.
  • Lunch & Stroll: 12:00 PM :: You can choose to brown bag it or take a stroll to one of the many hip and artsy eateries in the historic Artist's Village in Santa Ana, like C4 Deli, Chapter One4th Street Market, Cafe Calacas, and The Gypsy Den.
  • Class Segment B: 1:30-4:30 PM :: Class time with Pam who will guide the 2nd part of class.
  • Clean-Up & Depart: 4:30-5:00 PM


  • Due to limited class size, the spot for this class is transferable but payment is non-refundable. Please read about this policy in our Studio Policies.

Please read class policies for Studio CRESCENDOh here. By purchasing this class, you are agreeing to abide by the class policies.

JULY 28-19, 2018
Price :: 280

April 22, 2018

615 Abuelito

Tony615 Abuelito
18x24 inches :: acrylic on stretched canvas


This is a commissioned piece that I did for a client who wanted to honor his beloved abuelito. It was a joy to paint.

April 11, 2018

614 Cora

Cora614 Cora
18x24 inches :: original acrylic on stretched canvas
Click here to Buy


This work is first dedicated to Cora, the protagonist in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Through the pages of this book, I've escaped to places and escaped from places with Cora. Not just places but states of mind, states of emotion ... sometimes with intent and sometimes without. Magically, actually.

Cora's journey reminds me of the places I travel in terms of my emotions ... wanting to stay at an emotion and hold onto it ... but in spite of my strong will to either stay or to go, it seems that the traveling happens in spite of my will. I just wake up sometimes and think to myself ... why am I at peace? I wanted to stay in the grief. I wanted to stay in the hurt. How did I arrive at peace? And then another time I'll wake up and wonder how I got to melancholy when I was basking in the warmth of and joy of sun. Am I moving forward? Or am I weaving in and out of tracks real and imagined? Does joy rest in hurt? Does hurt rest in peace?

This work is also dedicated to singer, Michael J. Woddard, whose recent performance of Golden Slumbers by The Beatles took my breath away. And made me think that surely, once there was a way ... and perhaps a way still, as we weave in and out of tracks that might be underground and imagined or on the ground and under the real blue sky ... sometimes through our will and sometimes magically.


March 25, 2018

613 Stormy Weather

Stormy2613 Stormy Weather
20x20 inches :: original acrylic on stretched canvas
Click here to Buy

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