rik-rat corn pile

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A show! A show!

My buddy, Marty Nelson, invited me to participate in this lovely show at the Franklin Arts Center.  It's the final exhibit he will be curating for FAC.  Thanks for all the support, Marty!  I wish you luck on your artistic journey and I hope some of you lovely readers can make it to the opening this Friday.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Painting so Fresh it Hasn't Been Titled.

Too New to be Titled (next week?), 17 X 29, gouache on paper, 2013.
Oh, man.  Sorry for being such a terrible blogger, guys.  I feel like this show in South Dakota has taken over my life.  The good news?  Over the last two years:

1.  I have officially completed a body of work. 
2.  I have titled this body of work, Iowa Dirt. 
3.  I truly understand the concepts behind each gouache painting and have written a statement about my processes. 
4.  I have officially spent way too much goddamn money on framing and have a new life goal: learn how to frame.
5.  I have a closing reception date for my first solo show in well over two years.
6.  The gallery is covering half of my shipping costs.
7.  I've been published a couple times, I've gotten into a few juried exhibitions, and have participated in a handful of print exchanges/art swaps.
8.  I have worked with a friend to completely redo my website...Bruce, you are a golden god and I'm so thankful for all of your help.
9.  I have made some money selling art/t-shirts...not enough to come close to covering costs but I'm getting there (and I've saved all my receipts in case big brother is watching)

When I allow myself to breathe and focus on the big picture I can tell that I've accomplished a lot.  I basically just completed real life graduate school, only now I'm mature and existing outside of an academic bubble.  Sometimes I can get so emotionally buried in stress and I forget to step back and see how well I'm actually doing. 

I'm still making art.  I live in the middle of nowhere and I'm still connected with all of you.  So, thank you to anyone who is reading this.  I'm starting to balance all this grown up shit with who I am and that's pretty empowering. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Geometry in Nature.

I recently juried into a pretty awesome show.

Geometry in Nature October 10–November 30
Opening Reception: October 10, 6-8 PM

Since its conception, geometry helps us understand and explain the natural world. When shapes, numbers and patterns repeat themselves, intricate and beautiful forms result. Juror Liz Miller selected works in this group exhibition that highlight the relationship between geometric principles and the natural world.


Here's a link to the juror's (Liz Miller, so good!) website http://www.lizmiller.com/work/installation/histrionic-malfeasance/

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fossils 9-26-13

We had to stop at Kyle's camp site at lunch so I took a chance and paroozed the river's edge for fossils.  I found a few!  Well...I found two.

The fossil on the left (not the penny, as if you needed to read that) is part of a bison tooth and the fossil on the right is part of a head of coral.  So cool.

Oh yeah, while I was trying to scan these I spilled coffee all over my crotch and butt.  I'm at work...ugh.  The things I do for this blog.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not My Finest Work but Hilarious.

Gun Gorilla, 9 X 11, pen and ink, 2013.

The Customer is always right.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Praying Mantis

Well, someone must love me because this thing was laying, dead, on my work desk...pretty sure it didn't die on my desk. 

Of course I had to scan the thing.

P.S  here's a link to interesting mantis facts http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/praying-mantis/

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Painting!

"Chimney Lagoon." gouache on paper, 19 X 19, 2013.
This painting was truly a labor of love.  It was not an easy-breezy painting, seeing as I challenged myself to work in a new format...square with little white space surrounding the image.  I feel like I succeeded.  There were times when I wanted to die, times when I wanted to throw my paintbrushes into the garbage disposal and chug a bottle of Makers Mark...but I didn't.  I harnessed my chi, focused, and look what popped out of me...a painting.

I am chuffed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Went to the Iowa State Fair.

Things I accomplished at the Iowa State Fair.
I held an alligator.

I added to my smashed penny collection.

We watched a professional flint knapper make this knife out of flint.  AMAZING.

Comprehensive list:  Hand fed zebra, saw the world's smallest horse (30 pounds, squeeeee!), got harassed by a carnie, rode horrifying fair rides at the midway, ate a deep friend snicker bar and a GIANT turkey leg, found the world's grossest port-o-potty and decided I could hold it, saw a life sized cow carved out of butter, pet a baby cow for five minutes, drank at the Iowa craft beer tent, watched several bands preform, heat exhaustion, watched my friends and family throw axes, bought two beaver skulls for 7 bucks, found out that baby camels are possibly the most awkward looking animal on god's green earth.  OUT.  Peace. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Artist Statement.

I've been working on this artist statement for what feels like forever.  I've spent time thinking about it, dwelling on it, obsessing over it...just not actually writing the damn thing.  Yesterday was spent drinking pots of coffee while multitasking.  This is what I've put together so far.  Most of you readers are familiar with my work and if you are not, check out www.janeryder.com 

Any input is appreciated.  Feel free to email me at fluxbiota @ gmail.com

My paintings are a right-brained approach to observing, dissecting, and recording the objective subject matter found in the lakes, rivers, prairies, and forests of south central Iowa.  As my intimacy with the land surrounding me evolves, so does my approaches for depicting the complexities of varying terrains and the plants and animals that occupy them. 

Each of my gouache painting is a fictitious ecosystem that has been broken down into a series of vignettes.  Each vignette describes the decay, growth, and interaction between the flora and fauna of that imagined place.  Although bold colors, repeating patterns, and flattened space make the paintings appear fantastic in nature, each scene is based off an observation. 

I am constantly inspired by the complexities of the natural world.  My work is an ever evolving narrative about the interconnectedness of all things and the functions of an organism in a community of plants and animals.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Broken Arrowhead, July 2013.

Crying Piece: Slang in a tiny community of artifact hunters.  A broken arrowhead that would have knocked your socks off if it was whole. 

I found a crying piece the other day, the tie off of an arrowhead.  The stone is gorgeous and white, it has beautiful pressure flaking, and would have been oh so very gorgeous if it was whole. 

Really, I should just be thankful that I found a broken piece. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fossil Hunting in Iowa. 7-27-13

We went out adventuring. This is what was found.
1.  This blue marble was a lucky find.  I found it under a cement slab on a river bank. Here's a link that tells you the difference between an old marble and a new one.  This is an old marble.


2.  We were fishing and decided to take a little break and walk up a creek that runs into the river. We found all the shell fossils and the two horned coral in a little rock pile in the center of the dried up creek. 

3.  It's hard to tell how beautiful and awesome the rock next to the marble is...sigh.  It's a recently cracked open geode.  All of the crystals are still shiny and unworn...something about geodes are so magical.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Turkey Feathers and a Kind Vet.

I've been pretty bummed out this week.  My trip to central Illinois was wonderful and it was great to see my mom, brothers, and friends.  The jaunt was a nice distraction from my feelings but the weight of my childhood dog's passing and the health problems of our current dog is testing me now that I'm home again.

Mudd had another mild seizure last night and he has an ear infection.  I went to the vet at noon to pick up more medicine and the vet tech couldn't answer all my questions...it bummed me out (even though I know she isn't allowed to answer questions, that's the vet's job).

I decided to take a walk at a nearby nature preserve to calm down.  I found a turkey feather and a jawbone...and then I saw a woman in scrubs walking in the distance.  The woman in scrubs waved at me and I recognized her as my vet.  She approached me and I reintroduced myself because people out of context sometimes don't register.  I asked if it was ok if I asked her a few questions about Mudd and immediately started to tear up from stress and she touched my shoulder and said,

"Let's talk this through.  It's going to be fine."

Doc calmed my fears and we watched a deer walk across the road.  At that point I felt better and I decided to let her go on her merry way.  I was still kind of shocked by the coincidence and the kindness she showed towards me.  She is a kind person.  I walked to my car, finally content, and a spot covered baby deer crossed my path.  I hope that's good luck.

Have an excellent day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Trip to Central Illinois.

Fossils we found on the Mackinaw River.
If I wrote every detail down from my amazing trip we'd be here all night.  I'll just write down some highlights:  

Took Friday off work and drove to Illinois, landed in East Peoria at two and picked up Matt, ate Thai food, find two abandoned kittens and save their lives, go to Rhodell's to drink micro-brews with my amazing professor (Oscar Gillespie) and a smattering of others (we play darts, I hate darts).  Hug Juice Wallis. Go to the Mackinaw  River with friends (Steve, Jessie, Chris, Dave, Christine, Matt, and a few new friends) where we float in tepid water, look for fossils, and drink beer.  Go to Steve's house to see Rishika!  Get some nostalgic photos while we listen to music and do "other" things.  Sleep.  Wake up at 9 and have some food with Miss Elizabeth Carol.  Leave for Bloomington, IL to see my brother, Barton.  Get some food and beers while we wait for my mom to show up.  Go to the National Guard gym and see my little brother, Paul, receive three awards (he's at the top of his class, woot!).  Mom arrives and feeds the three of us at another micro-brewery.  Boys leave and mom and I get a hotel.  We buy swimming suits and beer.  We sit by the poolside and catch up, drinking beer and smoking cigs (ahhh!)...coz, we cool like that.  We watch dumb teenager poolside antics and meet a young man that was about to audition for The Voice (he wouldn't perform for us...he's gonna suck).  Mom and I get hungry and go to Stake and Shake....mmmm.  Go back to the hotel, sleep, wake up, hug mom "bye", love her so much!  Hit the road for Iowa.  The sadness from losing my Ryder-dog is heavy in my heart on the ride home.  I think about him a lot.  Think about my Ryder-Dog and what a good life we had and how it's ok to be sad for awhile.  Come home to a happy boyfriend and a happy dog.  Life is good.  I had an amazing weekend. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In Memory.

I lost a good friend yesterday. 16 years is a long run for a dog but it's never quite long enough. I was 14 years old when my mom told me to get into the car and refused to tell me where we were going. I was not a fan of surprises at the time and I sulked the entire car ride...worried that we were about to visit one of my mother's friends. We pulled up in front of an unfamiliar house on the south side of Oak Park. My mother and I walked to the door and were greeted by a kind woman, she invited us inside. THERE WAS A LITTER OF PUPPIES INSIDE! and I picked Ryder. He was the best present I've ever received. It's been a beautiful 16 years. Ryder filled our lives with love and was a happy member of our family. Every time I came home from college, grad school, or adult life...he was waiting at the door for me. Always happy to see me. The thought of him not being there the next time I go to my mom's house is enough to break my heart but I know that if there is a heaven it's for dogs. And he'll be waiting at the gates for me.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Painting in Progress.

a detail of the painting. mmmmm, crayfish.

19 X 19, gouache on paper. 
I'm trying something new and I'm NERVOUS. My paintings utilize a large amount of white space...this one will not. I'm trying to create flattened depth. Whoa. It'll work out. I'll pull out some of my hair and keep on keeping on.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Art and Life.

Here's a funny little drawing I've been working on for a local Pub.  The bar's logo is a peanut and they requested a "hipster peanut riding a penny farthing bicycle" for their Ragbrai t-shirt
(http://ragbrai.com/....Lance Armstrong will be riding in Ragbrai this year).

I'll post a picture of the t-shirt design after the customer gives their approval.  I gotta tell ya, it feels great to do creative things at work.  I get paid to draw...my boss even offered to buy me art supplies.  I'm ecstatic.  I make art at work and I make art when I get home from work.  Life is good.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hognose Snake!

You'd think a dog called a Rat Terrier would be more inclined to hunt rats.  Not our dog.  Mudd is a Snake Terrier and a few weeks ago he came across a very interesting snake, indeed.

It all started on the river.  We pulled the boat over so I could get out and stretch my legs.  Of course the dog jumped out of the boat, onto the shoreline, and disappeared into the trees with a quickness that can't be registered on a wristwatch.

I ran after the pooch and found him yelping and pawing at a log.  I walked over to grab him and saw a HUGE snake.  The snake saw me and began to puff up in an attempt to look larger.  It was quite a display...hissing followed the puffing and I knew that it would be a dumb idea to get any closer.

I went to the other side of the log to get a look from another angle.  The snake's head periscoped over the log and he made intense eye contact with me, like he wanted to eat me.  Of course, I ran away (dog in my arms) like a scared little baby.

I went home, did some research, and found out that it was a hognose snake.  They're known for their impressive displays but not for being aggressive.  Who knew?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Commissioned Drawing.

"Alison's Pickle." 9 x 13, ink on paper, 2013. Commissioned drawing.
This drawing was defiantly a "pickle."  Talk about an interesting combination of idea.  This is the message I was sent.

how much would it cost for a commissioned painting of an owl made of pickles?
I'm serious on the content.

And I'm serious about giving the customer what they want.  Boom.  Pickle owl. 

Arrowhead hunting in Iowa. May, 2013.

I found this beautiful birdpoint on May 27th.  What a pretty little thing.  It's thin, the knapp marks are complicated, the flint is awesome and I'm a happy rock hunter.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Commissioned Drawing.

Hugo and Gidget. 11 X 14, ink pen on bristol, 2013.  Commissioned piece.

You wanna talk challenging?  Draw a black dog.  It's pretty Ruff.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Drawing! Loch Ness Monster, Anyone?

"Nessie" 9 X 12, pen and ink on bristol, 2013.  A commissioned piece for Melissa.

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Painting, 2013.

"untitled at the moment", 13 X 24, gouache on paper, 2013.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Brace Yourself.

Ugh.  It's May 3rd and South Central Iowa just got a three inch snow dump.  It was 80 two days ago and now we have snow.  Will wonders never cease?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mutant Dandelion!

I was walking the dog through a field of dandelions and found this gigantic mutant amongst the others.  This dandelion has three flower heads!  Insane.  I likened it to a four leaf clover, a strange mutation but nothing too "out there".

When I got home I put the dandelion in the fridge and did some Google-investigations. I found out that the proper term for this kind of growth is "fasciation" or "cresting".  The growth is caused by a mutation in the meristematic cells, by insect or mite attack, or by chemical or mechanical damage (that sentence was stolen from this web address http://www.bloginfrance.com/2012/the-attack-of-the-mutant-dandelions/). 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eagle Nest, Des Moines River, 2013.

I took this shot as we floated by the nest.  I swear this eagle is making eye contact with my camera.

We passed several eagle nests on the Des Moines river.  The sheer size of each nest is incredible...they're like a Volkswagen beetles parked on tree tops.  Each nest had a pair of eagles.  One eagle sat on the nest and one played sentry.  The sentry took their job seriously.  As we approached each nest, from a safe distance, the giant bird would fly off his/her branch and fly in circles above our heads until we were no longer "threat worthy".  I swear that the eagle made eye contact with me.  It was very intense.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Arrowhead Hunting in Iowa, April 2013. Points, Scrapers, Knifes, Hematite Piece, and more.

April 26th was a pretty excellent day for arrowhead hunting. The Midwest has been dealing with a lot of flooding...which is bad for basements but excellent for artifact/fossil hunters. The rain raises the water levels in small lakes, creeks, ditches, and rivers, the extra water erodes river bank walls and exposes new sand/rocks/dirt.  Here are some of the pieces we found.  Enjoy!
two perfect arrowheads.

Left of Right to bottom:  A beautiful turtle back scraper, a broken long, thin arrowhead, a Madison triangle with a busted tip, and a crude arrowhead.
Left to Right to bottom: A hematite knife or celt (this one is confusing to me, you don't often see hematite pieces, the base of a spear or knife, a scaper, and two knife.

As you can see, it was a very successful day.  The only piece that has me puzzled is the small hematite piece.  It's napped like a knife or scraper but I think it's a small celt.  Who knows?  I'll upload the videos to a youtube account and post the link here later.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fossil Hunting in Iowa. April, 2013. Brachiopods and Horned Coral.

I pulled more horned coral out of this creek bed in 30 minutes than I have over the course of the entire 2012 fossil hunting season.  Thank you rain.  If it wasn't for you all of these fossils would have been hidden under stagnant dirt and sand for many years.

As you can see, I found a helluva lot of horned coral.  I'm not sure of their various taxonomies but there appear to be three different variations.  I base this off of size, segments, and the appearance of the outside and inside of each specimen (bumpy, smooth, varied?).  But, damn, I'm not a geologist so I'll leave the tedium to those paid poorly for it (always end with a preposition).

As for the brachiopods, there appear to be several of those as well. I believe I have four or five variations. Not to mention a nice piece of branched coral (hanging out above the penny in the bottom photograph). 

As always, happy huntings.  I hope you find something good today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Arrowhead Hunting in Iowa. April, 2013.

I had a good weekend.  I found a ton of fossils in a creek bed, went to a benefit auction and bought some cool stuff, and found an awesome arrowhead when Kyle and I went hunting on Sunday.

It took me three years to find a perfect arrowhead.  I've found other perfect artifacts...just never a perfect arrowhead and it felt amazing.  My stomach flipped several times when I spotted the piece.  I may have even let out a squeal of joy. (i also found a perfect mano, a broken drill, and a broken birdpoint in this field)

Watch the video.  It'll take a moment to load but should be worth the wait.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Smashed Pennies from the Glen Oak Zoo.

Juice, Barton, and I went to Glen Oak Zoo on Saturday.  It was an eventful trip, I watched a zookeeper feed a mandrill some lettuce.  Whoa.  It was pretty intense.  I also purchased these beautiful smashed pennies and have a new favorite animal : The Red River Hog (So CUTE).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Took the Day off Work. This is What I'm doing.

Sometimes a person just needs a day off. Today I am that person. My day so far? Slept till nine, made coffee, took a walk with the dog, turned on some cartoons, and started painting. I am currently painting...and on my fourth cup of coffee.

Sorry for the semi-crappy photos. This was all done with an iPad. Hooray for technology....also, I edited the photo size by figuring out some basic HTML. I feel so powerful.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Peoria Pop up Shop.

skyler sporting the beautiful "Bat" shirt design.
I received my BFA in 2005 from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.  A lot of my good friends still live around the area and are doing wonderful things to make the Peoria land area a better place (I could write an entire essay about all the good things my friends are doing, I am very proud).  Many business storefronts remain empty from the recession and entrepreneurial people, like my friends Rishika and Lisa, are trying to make them profitable again.  Hence their plan.

April 5th was first Fridays.  To those unfamiliar, first Fridays happen on (duh) the first Friday of every month.  Galleries have openings and the people of the local community hop from shop to shop, gallery to gallery, drink some free wine, and hopefully enjoy and buy art.  With the help of local store owner, Jessica Bennassi, local writer, Rishika Murthy, and local photographer, Lisa Anderson....we held a flea market of sorts on First Friday.

Our pop up shop had three vendors.  Rishika sold garments and hand bags from India at reasonable prices, Lisa sold her wonderful photographs (I am now the proud owner of two pieces), and I sold t-shirts featuring my designs, drawings, beaded skulls, and paintings.

The show was a tremendous success.  I got to see all sorts of friends (it was a lovely reunion as you can see in the photograph below) and even managed to sell SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS worth of merchandise!  A fellow even bought a beaded deer skull, many bough drawings or prints, and it felt like everyone wanted a t-shirt.  It was amazing and rejuvenating.  I am still glowing from the experience and you know what they say...."if it plays in Peoria."

I'm feeling inspired.  It felt good to see my product sell successfully.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Commissioned Piece.

A memorial tattoo/drawing for my friend in Milwaukee.