On PBS’s Horizon tonight

If you’ll be in front of your TV tonight check this out! I’m told that the show I have a painting in at R. Pela Contemporary Art is going to be covered on tonight’s episode of Horizon on PBS (channel 8) here in the Phoenix area.  Here is the channel guide for our local PBS stations: http://www.azpbs.org/schedule.php

The gallery is still open by appointment until we the show is taken down at the end of the month, so if you wanted to see it hurry, it’s not going to be there much longer! Gallery link: http://rpelagallery.com/

Anxious to see what they say. Not sure if it’s an interview with the gallery owner, a visit to the show, or both, or something entirely different.

Blogs For Artists


Good collection of blog links by David McDonough!

Originally posted on David McDonough's Art Blog:

Whatever your interest, the internet’s got it. From tips and tricks, to news and reviews, if art is your thing, you’ll dig the following blogs.


I love art blogs. Here are some of my favorites:


Billing itself as a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today, Hyperallergic pulls no punches – case in point, this review of Jeff Koons at the Whitney.

Art F City

In addition to blunt criticism, Art F City keeps it casual with a section called STUFF. Basically, STUFF is a look inside the lives of artists through their personal possessions. A unique peak inside the creative mind.


With tons of articles on how to launch and grow a successful art or craft business, Aryshark is a valuable resource for artists at any stage of their career. Art + Business is especially useful.


Like Artyshark, Artpromotivate provides lots of…

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Taking a sketchbook (almost) everywhere


Monster with Soul Patch, graphite pencil on paper, 7 x 5 inches, Cindy Schnackel

The other night, I went to my husband’s recreational hockey game, where I knew there would be about a half hour before the game, and after, for all the changing, showering, etc.  I almost always take something interesting to do, usually a sketchbook and basic pencils or pens. This time, I was in the mood to do some graphite drawing. I like Ebony pencils, they’re very black and soft, though it’s not the only kind I use. Also, I had one of those little rolled paper stomps, to blend small areas.  I had a small eraser to re-pick out some highlights that got smudged.  When I got home I sprayed it with a non aerosol fixative called Spectrafix, which I like because it is far less toxic than most fixatives.

If you like to use wet media, (which I do too),  there are at least two brands of the water pens; mine’s Pentel’s Aquash.  I believe Koi and Niji also make water brushes. I first got one during a Pentel demo at an art supply store awhile back. The brush tip is really nice, and they’re great to use with ink pens that have at least a bit of water solubility to them, or water soluble pencils, (color or graphite). I fill mine with distilled water, because I don’t know if the minerals in tap water might eventually build up.

The easiest thing to take traveling could be a ballpoint pen. You can get multi-color ones and overlap strokes, creating nearly any hue you like.  There is some amazing ballpoint pen work out there. Some people get into photorealism with it but it can be much more. Here’s an article about ball point pen art, albeit  probably not done in a few minutes on the bus: http://www.artnews.com/2014/01/08/great-art-made-with-ballpoint-pens/

On a long trip or long wait somewhere, I’d be lost without some way to create.  Absent drawing tools, I may fold paper, play with my food, arrange dust, or scratch concrete with a rock.   It can be mesmerizing to just get lost in the shading and details, or whatever process you choose, and before you know it, the long boring wait is over.


The Story of “Good China in the Bad Desert”


Good China in the Bad Desert, acrylic on panel, 48 x 20 inches, $600, available in July 2014 at R. Pela Contemporary Art, Phoenix, Arizona

Sometime in the spring of 2013 I was wandering the aisles of a lumber store, looking for the scrap bin.  It was all part of my effort to reuse, recycle, and repurpose, so that at least some of my art was made from things that would otherwise end up in landfills.  I enjoy painting on panels, so when I saw a large scrap of hardboard, or as some call it, Masonite, I grabbed it. At home on the patio, in beautifully pleasant Phoenix spring weather, I sealed it well and just let my intuition tell me what to paint, as is my M.O.

The painting started out as a blue sky, mountains, and vague desert-y foreground. I’d work on plants and detail once I knew where the main characters would be.  Without really thinking about it too consciously, I was  deciding where blocks of color would be compositionally, such as reddish over here, green over there, what shape, etc.  I also got absorbed in the colors of distant mountains as I just think those hazy purply, blue, and earthy colors are pretty in real life, so they are mesmerizing to paint, too.

Of course, I knew it’d be populated with creatures, I just didn’t know what at first.  As the painting progressed, the cacti became animated.

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Then, they were chasing a set of dishes. I don’t know why.  Above is a detail of an iconic southwestern art element, the cow skeleton. Of course, mine’s upright and walking, joining the dish chasing chaos, not lying passively in the dirt.

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Something unusual about this one is there is not one single bird in it.  Once the characters were in place I started filling in more detailed vegetation.  I love glazing to bring out details and shadows, so I did quite a lot of that, and am sure I also changed my mind about a few things and moved them around a bit. I enjoy contrasts to bring out things, or blurring and subtler contrasts to push back edges. If an area is too dark I paint a light opaque over it and it just gets incorporated as I go, adding, subtracting, glazing, scumbling, shading, maybe some spattering, and near the end adding the tiny details like thorns, glints in eyes, etc.

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

The title just kind of came to me, after it was done. And it can take awhile to know I’m really done, when I don’t know where I was going in the first place.  Perhaps it’s when I’m satisfied and amused.  I let most pieces sit for awhile to think about it, then when some undefined amount of time has passed and I’m happy with it, I decide the piece is done.  At that point I do what’s necessary to even out the sheen and photograph it, (not necessarily in that order), and upload an image of it to the internet to market it. (Usually my redbubble page is the first to get it.)

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

Detail of Good China in the Bad Desert

This painting is unframed, but has deep wood edges that are finished to go with the artwork. I added the ‘cradling’ from scrap lumber, too. The edges are approximately 2 inches deep. It is wired and ready to hang.

I personally think a frame molding that is ornate yet southwest-y, almost poking fun at southwest art, would look great on this piece.  Not weathered wood necessarily, but maybe something whimsical with big ‘carving’ type details?  For the price of a custom frame I decided it would be best not to force my taste on anyone else, so I’ll let the buyer decide if they want to frame it, and what style of frame.


Examples of picture-hanging hooks. No particular brand recommended, these are just what we can get readily in stores here.

As with all large paintings, we hang them from wall hooks made for picture hanging, and sturdy enough for the weight of the piece.  If you use TWO hooks, especially on wide artworks, the picture is easy to level and tends to stay that way!  The nails used for these hooks are thin but strong, and come out easy when you want, but stay in until then. The hooks and often the nails too are reusable. You can even get the hooks with an extra clip, which makes them very hard to just lift off the wall, if it’s in a public place. Regular nails and screws will pull downward eventually, especially with larger work.  The picture hanging hooks are sold in framing, art, hardware, lumber, and craft stores. They’re not expensive. Even the massive kit to hang work that weighs much more than this piece is only a few dollars, well worth the investment to save an art piece from crashing to the floor unexpectedly!  What’s not to love about them compared to ordinary nails and screws?

I enjoy the details and absurdness in this painting, and hope that its eventual buyer will, too.

Please contact the gallery about purchase; it will be there through most of July 2014, by appointment if you miss the opening!  http://rpelagallery.com/

Opening night is Friday, 4 July, 6 p.m.!  R. Pela is located at 335 W. McDowell, Phoenix.

The art show is free to view. There is a paid event there about artists lives in the desert on Friday July 18th. See gallery site for details.



July art show

DRY_adI’ll have a painting in R. Pela Gallery’s show, “Dry,” thru most of July. The painting is “Good China in the Bad Desert,” Acrylic on panel, 48 x 20 inches.  The show opens for the First Friday art walk, July 4th, at 6 pm.  The gallery reopens Friday July 18th for a ticket (paid) event of people speaking about their life in the desert; see gallery for more info about that: http://rpelagallery.com/  The gallery also opens by appointment, so if you miss the openings during the art walk nights, please do contact the gallery for a private showing, they are very accommodating that way!


Good China in the Bad Desert, Acrylic on panel, 48 x 20 inches, $600

My Creative Process; The Grand Blog Tour

I was invited to participate in the Grand Blog tour by artist Laura Barbosa: http://laurabarbosa.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/my-creative-process-the-grand-blog-tour/

Like Laura, I was asked the following questions:

1. What are you working on now?


Good China in the Bad Desert, Acrylic on panel, 48 x 20 in.

After an April show, I went into experimental mode for art production, meaning a lot of things I’m working on right now won’t ever make their way to online display! However, I have uploaded a couple of very recent collages to my Redbubble site:  http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack

My painting, “Good China in the Bad Desert,” (above) will be shown in July at R. Pela Contemporary Art Gallery, (335 W. McDowell, Phoenix, AZ).  See R. Pela gallery site for info on past and current shows, and watch for article on July show: http://rpelagallery.com/

As far as blogging, I’ve been working on updating my inventory and price list here on my WordPress blog, as well as trying some of my existing images on Redbubble’s new products.

2. How does your work differ from others of it’s genre?


Cracked, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 6 inches

The closest genre to what I do seems to be surrealism, but so far I’ve not yet found a genre that perfectly fits.  Perhaps that’s one way my work differs, though I don’t compare or worry too much about genres or labels, and I’m not the only artist who would be hard to categorize.

There are many artists who do the same subjects, (birds or monsters); I think we mostly all do them in unique and personal ways so you could identify the artist once you had seen their work.  The messages, as well as visual style, can also vary greatly from one artist to another and is part of the ‘signature’ that makes theirs unique.

3. Why do you write/create what you do?


Hen Party, Acrylic on panel, 48 x 36 in.

It’s a passion to make art, something that I have done since I was little, almost as necessary as breathing. I don’t know where the desire to do it came from because there was little art influence where I grew up. As a kid I remember drawing scenes, animals, and characters not a whole lot different than now, only hopefully my work has improved over the years.  I’ve always loved animals, especially birds, and see them as equals who are capable of complex thoughts, feelings, and lives. Though I’m still not sure if my birds and monsters are stand ins for humans, I do display them in human situations and with what we think of as human emotions and dilemmas.

4. How does your writing/creative process work?


Block Chicken, was about 4 in. tall or less, has since been disassembled.

Usually, I shut out everything and get into the ‘zone’ and just create kind of mindlessly, from a very subconscious place.   There’s little or no plan or conscious thought of what I’ll do, or how. The surface, paints, tools, etc, are chosen based on whatever appeals at that moment. There’s no point questioning why it’s a pencil instead of paint, or palette knife instead of a brush, or for that matter pick up clay or toy building blocks or fabric.  If I start thinking too much I probably won’t like the result, and will end up painting over it. My best ideas often spring from this, whether I start right out on canvas or have done a doodle and translate it to a semi-planned piece before I lose the momentum of the half baked thought.


Other artists who blog, and whom I’ve invited to do the Grand Blog Tour–watch for their posts a week from mine:


Anita Inverarity  http://whisperofthesith.blogspot.co.uk/

Jenny Wood  http://jennywoodart.com/

Wear it, squeeze it, carry stuff in it

GrassEatersPillToteThe POD site I’m on, redbubble, added two new products recently, throw pillows and tote bags. After trying out a few of my images, and ordering an actual pillow to see what they were like, I decided to put a few of my images on them. Not everything works for this, so not everything will be available on these products. Besides decisions about just what looks right, some size formats just don’t work as well, either cutting off too much or not going edge to edge. So only those that made the cut are on them!  I’ll be doing more in the coming weeks probably.

ChickenCoffeeTeeViewIn addition to the new products, I still have some of my cartoony versions and images available on tee shirts. I have bought a number of these over the years and like the smooth, lightweight fabric, perfect for our hot weather.  The printing seems to last well, even though I machine wash and dry them along with everything else, no special treatment.

Who knows what other products RB will get! Or if I’ll choose to sell it. Only time will tell.  See what is offered on these products here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack/collections/134829-tees-pillows-totes