I'm @ PortalUnlimited

I'm @ PortalUnlimited because it's a place! Two years from the conception of www.portalunlimited.com and now there's an address: 10 Plummer Ave., Bargersville, IN 46106. (My business land line is not hooked up yet.) My emotions are mixed as you can imagine. While most of my peers are thinking about retiring, I'm kicking the risk factor into high gear! (My husband is taking the risk with me and has been my biggest cheerleader. Not being an artist type, this is quite a step for him.) I hope I can make some sense of it all as I answer some questions below.

So what does PortalUnlimited look like now? I originally just wanted my studio out of my house. It only makes sense to add my fine art and print business. It's a 1250 square foot space and the price is right.

Why Bargersville? Have you been there lately? There is a lot of great things happening there. It's well worth the visit. 

Will the online store still be a presence? YES!

Will art classes be offered? I'm starting out with 2, Drawing and Watercolor. More to come about that on my website...

Will you have other's works in the gallery?  I do not want to be an artist rep. but I have hand picked some 3-D and fiber artists that I have always admired. It's quite an honor for me to sell their wares. You will see that piece changing as we move forward, I'm sure. The only 2-D work that I will be hanging besides mine is the work of my students. We will have a few shows to showcase their work through out the year.

Through all of this change, I'm extremely thankful for all my previous customers! You've made this possible!

You be hearing more specifics thoughout the month. I am teaming up with other businesses in the Bargersville community for some art events in months to come. Our Grand Opening is set for Saturday, June 3!!!! Stay tuned...

New Year!!!!!! (a little late...)

Yep...so Happy New Year....It's only February. I think the sentiment is still appropriate. This winter in Indiana has been extraordinary! Very little snow. Some great warm days and most importantly, great driving conditions... for winter, anyway.

Last year was a great year for PortalUnlimited. I branched out in a few directions that I hadn't considered before and planted a few seeds that only time will demonstrate their success or failure. I'm excited about what this year brings as my ideas evolve but I'm still plagued by the hovering reminder that I'm running out of time.

May marks my 2 year anniversary and the race is on! I have a lot riding on the next 4 months. There's much to accomplish if I want to cross the finish line winner. How was that? (THAT, by the way, is why I don't write copy!) I do have plans to finish my children's book this year, though, and since it's mostly illustrations I should be good!

Commissioned artwork has been at an all time high! It's a challenge to get inside someone's thought process and find out what they want to say with a piece. It's a much different thing than creating a piece of art that someone sees than purchases. Currently there is a waiting list but you are welcome to jump on.

Stay tuned for more updates...

What's Your Score?

Well...What IS your score? (I really man soundtrack but it just wasn't as catchy!) We all have one. I have a whole bunch of them! Everyday there's a different one, actually. Today it was the soundtrack to Apollo 13. Tomorrow, who knows. My day starts off with music. It keeps me motivated, ignites my imagination and helps me be more creative. Maybe that's why some days seem more dramatic than others!

That also explains why I was so excited to join the Timucua Arts Foundation in Orlando on October 23 for a concert with Daniel Jordan and friends. The jazz was amazing and while they were providing the outstanding music, I got to be the live artist. It was a thrill! Timucua was started by the extremely talented musician, Benoit Glazer. Benoit is one of those creative people who has more energy than one person should be allowed to possess. When he's not making music, having concerts, arranging, recording, writing music theory books (and more), he's the conductor of La Nouba, Cirque du Soleil in Orlando. I love meeting people with that kind of drive! Please visit www.timucua.com and see what all the fuss is about. FYI, I'm going back there as soon as my calendar clears!

Please take a trip to the Indianapolis Art Museum and enjoy the Watercolor Society of Indiana Exhibit 2016. I was honored to be a part of it and won the Theodore M. Englehart 2nd Place award for my watercolor "Release" pictured above. It's a portrait of my youngest daughter, Jackie. I love the challenge of expressing emotion in a portrait through movement and color. I think it's essential to the likeness. The title came to me after the painting was completed. The entire show  is wonderful! I was also excited to be awarded a Signature membership.

This month besides being booked with many commissions, I will take PortalUnlimited to the Indiana Originals Holiday Expo & Marketplace! It will take place on Nov. 26 from 11am to 6pm at the Emmis Building on Monument Circle. Admission is FREE! Come downtown to shop and stop at the PortalUnlimited booth and say, HI! I'll have some special deals that day.

So....I've written 2 blogs in 32 days. That maybe a record!

Welcome Fall

October 1 and I'm enjoying crisp weather and my morning Hazelnut coffee. I drink it everyday and I'm so used to it that I don't even appreciate that flavor anymore...unless I'm without it.

My life has been that way since my last blog post in April. I experienced the worst pain I ever had (since childbirth)...a pinched nerve. And no drug made me feel better. You realize how much you miss that painfree life when it's gone.

I trusted (unknowingly) some of the most unprofessional, dishonest individuals I have ever come in contact with (these were out of state) which made me so thankful for all of the professional people I surround myself with daily here.

And I remembered yesterday it would have been my mom's 88th birthday. Memories of her were with me all day and there's still that twinge of sadness that pops up that all of you have experienced too often in your own lives.

But there are a lot of exciting things happening as well! I have great plans for PORTALUNLIMITED! I hope some of you listened to my radio interview on WIBC with Mel McMahon of Indiana Originals. It was great to meet her and Teri Stacy in person and get to know them a bit.

I did a live artist appearance with the Greater Greenwood Community Band in Surina Park, Greenwood. It was SO much fun and I would have kept going but they ran out of music and I ran out of daylight! The painting will be silent auctioned at their Christmas concert to benefit their upcoming trip to Amsterdam.

I was juried into the Indiana Watercolor Society's annual show. It opens October 9th at the Indianapolis art Museum. Go and take a look if you get the chance.

I have another appearance coming up on October 23 in Orlando, Florida. This one is at the Timucua "White House". (Look for my Facebook link when it gets closer.) I will be painting to the music of the Greg Parnell Sextet. It should be live streamed and you'll get a chance to hear some incredible music and see me try to paint while I'm in awe of their talents. Here's a link to the venue www.timucua.com Great music only makes creating art better!

I'll be adding some new art on www.portalunlimited.com as well just in time for Christmas. And now my Hazelnut coffee is cold...

I'm a Bad Blogger

So I found out I'm bad at blogging. It's not that I don't have anything to say...my friends know I have a lot to say! It's just that I have been bombarded with life's exigencies and there's not been time.

I've been creating a 3 painting commission provided by an out of state grant. I'm honored to be asked to be a part of the project and as with all my work I've learned a lot and tried some new styles and techniques for me. More about them when they are unveiled next month.

I've also been consumed by a piece that I'm creating, with the intention of making signed and dated limited edition prints. It's commemorating an anniversary which I've hinted about on Facebook posts (and no it's not my recent wedding anniversary) . I go to sleep at night thinking about it and wake up and run in my studio to see if it has changed while I slept. My artist friends will know what I'm talking about here. When it's completed I'll judge to see if it is print worthy and worth the investment.

 I'm still working on a children's book which I've finished writing. Now on to the best part... the illustrating! I'm clearing my calendar to complete it which will be easy since the main character has become my grand daughter. (And in that order.) What a joy it will be to sketch the figure studies of her in action. My life is full!

Now on to the life exigencies...we are moving. Yes, the hubby, dog, cat, and I and all our stuff are moving! We had to tell our kids but they'll have to find us! We should be done by the end of April. And we are taking our time, 'cause we can...and we're old.

Stay tuned for more announcements next month !


"Homer is Home"

While the title is brilliant, I can't take credit for it. This is the tag line for my home town Homer, Michigan and was created by my good friend Mark Larder. Most people wouldn't suspect that Mark is a creative genius...or maybe they would. But I'd like to give credit where credit is due.

I'd like to say a little about this most recent print, the depiction of Homer's main drag. To date, this has been my biggest seller. Who'd have thought it? And I apologize for the shipping mistakes I made. I never dreamed people would purchase 2 and 3 at a time! I'm amazed and thankful to you all!

I've also added this month a set of note cards that are portraits of my youngest daughter, Jackie. This is her birthday month! I won't disclose her age publically except how it affects me...I don't appreciate her getting older! I call them "Variations on a Theme". She's a dancer and a great model!

I can, also, hint at 2 new products coming to PortalUnlimited. The soonest one is a take-off on the Japanese design of the tie-less apron. I always thought I'd make myself one but with the advent of my new company, I thought, why not have them produced, market and sell them. They are being produced locally by Studio NTK, an upstart Indianapolis based fashion design and production studio. We will be featuring them in the next month or so once my first run is complete!

The second product I'll announce at a later date...once I get closer. I'm equally excited about it. All my products are made in America...so far, the Midwest. And they're all things that I love and want to share. I look forward to sharing.

A Little Help from My Friends

When I started PortalUnlimited I invisioned it as a place for customers with a passion for creativity to visit and discover great products that enhance the way they live. My goal also was, and is, to promote the work of the very best artists I can find or already know. While I fulfill the 2- dimensional aspects of the inventory, I'm anxious to introduce to my followers other work that I love.

With respect to that, meet my good friend and fellow artist, Stephanie Robertson. Stephanie is a phenominal fabric artist and teacher. Her work hangs throughout Indianapolis. I had the pleasure of working with her for several years and I have to say, I've never laughed so hard with and at anyone in my life! (Actually caused more by sleep deprivation, I'm convinced.) Stephanie hired me because she liked what I was wearing. (Funky loves funky.) What an experience we had!

I'm excited to introduce the gorgeous Indigo Shibori silk chiffon scarves that Stephanie has created for PortalUnlimited. Each one is its own work of art and hand dyed individually. These are not made from yards of mass printed fabrcs...no two are alike. I may try to even frame one for myself...just a thought. I think I have the perfect spot! Then maybe another for wearing!

I'm including Stephanie's condensed bio below because I so impressed with her accomplishments. Please take a look and feel free to contact me with any questions regarding these or any of the PortalUnlimited offerings!

Stephanie Robertson is the Program Chair for Fine Arts at Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana. She has received three Individual Artists Grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Stutz Association Studio Space in 2002, and an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Fellowship in 2001. She has a MFA in Fabric Design from the University of Georgia (1994) and a BFA in Fabric Design fron Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (1981). Her work is included in several collections, including Community Hospital North, Community Hospital South, Pratt Corporation, St. Francis Hospital (Indianapolis) and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. She is also a teaching artist with Arts for Learning of Indiana. www.fabricsinger.com

Music = Color

Nothing motivates me and my creative process more than music. I can be innocently watching a movie when out of nowhere the sound track hits me! I immediately complete several awesome paintings in my head! I had my car totaled once to Aaron Copeland's "Appalachian Spring" and I never saw the accident coming! That's a good thing because the box truck was a lot bigger than me and I would have had a heart attack! I remember after the car stopped spinning, the first thing I was able to do was reach past the air bags and turn off the CD player. I don't know, it just didn't seem appropriate to have that beautiful piece be part of the moment. Music is a healer, teacher, motivator, inspiration, propagator of raw emotions... the list continues. A perfect gift from God.

Color is that way, too, in my book. Have you ever gone to a big home improvement center and grabbed as many paint chips as possible to take home and arrange for your next painting? (Me either but I think I will!) I delight in scouring the work of others to see how they handle color solutions. I love seeing successful combinations and I enjoy figuring out what doesn't work for me. I think, in my little world, it is synonymous with music. An abstract work can wreak havoc on your emotions just with color or lack of it. As with the tone, intensity and chords of music, the same is with color. It just fills the artist's world.

So as I continue to fill my world with good music and vibrant colors, I hope you will notice a difference in what I put out there! I will be experimenting and tip-toeing out of that famous (or infamous) "comfort zone" we hear so much about.

And BTW, it was the box truck's fault.




I recently made the decision to quit teaching. To people out there with a burning passion to teach, that’s probably a mortal sin. But I look at it this way….I’m not a teacher, I’m a student. I thought about this for a while now and the answer is clear. I want to be the student and I’m learning how to improve my skills continually.

Most of what I know about painting and drawing I’ve learned from inspecting the work of the greats. And when I say inspecting, I mean inspecting. I started this even as a kid in my small town library where there were limited resources on art instruction. But the masters were there….and that’s who I inspected. I thought they were the ones everyone learned from. After carefully observing the great works from old aromatic books, I’d go home and make futile attempts to replicate them. That’s where I began to really learn from the greatest teachers ever.

You see, I believe that in art, observation plus practice, practice…..and more practice, is how you learn. Now I agree there is a need for art teachers. One of the most valuable classes I ever took in art school was color theory. But eventually all the instruction on color mixing, drawing, and knowledge of medium must become second nature. You should “think” a color and it happens. No color recipes should be needed. You should “feel” that there is too much pigment on your brush without looking at it. And you should “know” from a lot of practice how to observe to get the desired effect.

So to all my students, I’m leaving you with my best advice to be a better artist….or rather a quiz. It’s a short one. You all know the answer. Here it is:

What are the two most essential things to remember to become a better artist?

Answer: ____________ and ______________.

That’s all I got! Now buy the t-shirt!

Relax and Squint!

A man that I work with at my day job was asking me what I meant by the slogan on my T-shirts, “Relax and Squint”. His comment went something like, “How is it possible to relax, then squint. That doesn’t seem right. What good does that do?” Well, just ask one of my art students. If you don’t learn anything else from me, you’ll learn that! And I will call you out to answer that question in class…”What are the 2 most important things an artist needs to remember?”

To a non-artist, I’m sure the thought seems irrelevant. Well, look at it this way…RELAX! Not to  pressure anyone but I mean it when I say “relax”. We all need to lighten up a little, all the time. It is soooo important when you are creating a piece of artwork. If you go into the job uptight, tense, and inhibited it just won’t work.

You know, like when you were young and wanted to draw really, really, really, well and you pressed the pencil down really hard and you made a really dark mistake and you tried to erase and you ripped the paper and you cried because it…..wait a minute, that’s what I’m talking about! (Also, a glimpse of my perfectionist childhood) Just like in life!

Squinting is a separate action. A well trained artist squints all the time when they’re working. It simplifies what they see. Details are diminished and only the important information is left to translate to the 2 dimensional surface. We are so fortunate to have that filter because things can look so much simpler.

So the next time you create, literally “Relax and Squint!” And try it in your everyday life in the metaphorical sense. It simplifies things. So do it…and buy the T-shirt here!

And by the way, I also tell my students, “When you’re rich and famous, you’ll thank me.” No one has yet.


The beginning...

There are a lot of reasons that have lead me to the decision to start a print business. I swore I'd never do it even though as a professional illustrator, I saw my work mass produced many times. I guess I figured fine art was different. Well, I've changed my mind.

Somehow this past year my perspective on many things has changed. I lost both parents within 3 months of each other. My husband went through an agonizing back surgery (3 of them in fact) and our lives were forever changed. And way beneath it all, in order of importance, I turned 60. That number reverberates in my brain every time I think it. As I watched many loved ones suffer physically, it's hard to watch, and many close friends suffer spiritually, equally as difficult to see, I realized how precious time is and I'm running out of it.

We were blessed in January, the month of new beginnings, with a beautiful granddaughter, Brooklyn, and our healing began. We feverishly text her picture back and forth frequently and everyday my co-workers politely ask me to show them my new Brooklyn pics of the day.(I so appreciate that!) She is the light of our lives bringing us crazy great joy and she reminds me continually that God's grace is renewed everyday.

So as you might guess you'll be seeing a lot of Brooklyn in my work...maybe not literally in every painting but certainly in the musical rhythms of my heart and the colors from my soul. And as I try to get into the swing of this "60" thing. I'll be making art and sharing it here!