Thursday, December 31, 2009


Five groovy things encountered (or revisited) in Philly of late:

1.    John and I went to Johnny Brenda's in mid-December to see local band A Sunny Day in Glasgow: several thumbs-up on both counts. Great band, great venue, and extra points for genuine friendliness on the part of both our waitress and the female bartender – very unusual and very awesome. Thanks, ladies!

2.    On the food/libation/entertainment front, I cannot overemphasize the extreme awesomeness of our friendly neighborhood Memphis Taproom. It even has plenty of tasty, well-crafted vegetarian fare for my more ethically-minded husband. Yay!

3.    We went to see an excellent show - "This Is The Week That Is" - by Philly’s 1812 Productions, an all-comedy theater group. Who can argue with an all-comedy group? Not me, that's for sure. Comedy = funny. Funny = good. And 1812 Productions = funny + good. No joke.

4.    I forgot to mention in a previous post that last month's First Friday gallery walk here in Fishtown brought to my attention a great new gallery/art studio space very close to us on Frankford Avenue called Part Time Studios. It's a pack of talented folk across a range of media, but I fell in love particularly with the work of Adam Smith, who does primarily painting and sculpture. In fact, I particularly crave the following piece:

"Crew Neck, V Neck" by Adam Smith, 4" x 7", acrylic on found paper.
Man, I love that painting. Mmmmm. I vow to make it mine...

5.    Last but not least, we had the great pleasure of meeting writer Maya Sloan, based recently in Philadelphia but relocating to Brooklyn, alas. Anyway, she's a super-great person and extremely funny – she's coming out with a book this summer, entitled "High Before Homeroom." Intrigued? Me too! I'm going to pre-order it at this link, and you should as well... gotta support our literary artist brethren, yo.
That's all for now, folks... more soon on the awesomeness of the Brandywine River Museum in all of its glorious Wyethness. Mmmm, Wyeth paintings... yummy.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Rounding out 2009 with a bunch of portrait commission projects... here's one I finished and shipped out to California earlier in the month -
...aaaaand now for a close-up...
More soon! Been busy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!!

Peace on earth, and on the arm of the comfy chair...
Happy holidays to all, from a very relaxed Feissel household.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Picked a pack of pics.

Oh my, so overwhelmed with urban awesomeness and deeply in love with being back in Philadelphia. Ahhh. I'm going to make this a mostly visual post, as John and I have been paddling around a bit in the city, taking some photos here and there:

This chocolate novelty shop has been at Reading Terminal Market forever, yet this will never stop being funny to me. Noses! HAHA!


Better be good... radioactive Santa is watching you.


Urban chickens, yo! In a chorus line, of sorts, at Greensgrow Farm.

Some gorgeous brickwork nestled into a building over at 20th and Sansom or so...

Snowman and Mickey are hangin' tight, bringin' some holiday spirit. While partying on the roof.

More awesome brick, ironwork and mosaics on a building at Broad and Spring Garden...

City Hall and Dilworth Plaza, all busting out in Christmas cheer (via the "Christmas Village" event, which is a nice attempt at an olde-style German Christmas market, but falls *slightly* short due to such vendors as "The Sheet Man.")

Good advice, brought to you by the sidewalk at Cumberland and Gaul, near Greensgrow Farm. Go hug yer mom, whydoncha?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Phirst Phriday and other delights.

Where to begin? It's been busy – in a good way. On the art front, I've been working on some time-sensitive commissions, so I've had my nose to the grindstone... more or less. Actually, that sounds really painful. Let's just say, I've been spending some time in my studio – these days, a room in our house here in Fishtown. As for my quest for the perfect drawing group, the Thanksgiving holiday had interrupted my search somewhat... though a couple of Sundays ago I did bike down to the Rodin Museum for some sketching fun and boy, did I have a bad drawing day... wow. Really bad. I'll have to go back at some point to redeem myself. Sigh. I also made a stop this past week by the Tuesday portrait session at the Plastic Club, and made yet another lousy drawing. It's a nice place, though, very mellow but focused - I'll definitely go back there again.
A bad drawing I did at the Plastic Club – and no, the model didn’t look like Dwayne Johnson (the Rock), it's... just a bad drawing. Sigh.

Oh, per the title of this post - John and I went out for First Friday back on the 4th, mostly covering our own neighborhood via the "Holiday Art Walk," covering both the Frankford Avenue and Girard Avenue corridors. I had work at two galleries, in two group shows – here's a pic of my work (these three paintings hung vertically in the middle of the photo) up at Highwire Gallery on Frankford, about 4 blocks from our house (very convenient for me):

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Drawing group quest.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been beginning to locate and sample the various drawing groups/sessions in Philadelphia, now that we're a little more settled in at home. So far I've only ventured out to two places - Dr. Sketchy's and Studio Incamminati, which has an "Open Studio" model session for the public on Sundays. It's a little funny, because I suppose the format/intent/tone of these two sessions couldn't really be any more opposite – Dr. Sketchy's = FUN! LIVELY! SHORTER POSES! BEER! Studio Incamminati = SERIOUS! SILENT! LONG POSES! BOOZE-FREE! Art nerd (and party pooper) that I am, I actually think I preferred the solemnity and seriousness of the Studio Incamminati session. Also, the seating arrangement at Dr. Sketchy's didn't really allow for very good viewing of the entire model... so I have a bunch of crappy, half-assed half-completed sketches of the top half of the models (who were great, actually, what I could see of them – they were burlesque performers with Peekaboo Revue). So, here's what I came up with at Studio Incamminati – great model, fairly lousy drawing (which was spilling off the page, as usual). I need to re-read (many times over) Sadie's awesome guide to saving a drowning drawing/painting. Sigh.
I look forward to trying the sessions at the Philadelphia Sketch Club and the Plastic Club at sometime soon... stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let them eat (cup)cake.

Wow, I've been promising updates and photos for a while – time to deliver on promises!

So John and I have had some time more recently to explore Philly and all of its various delights. Yay Philly! Let me first let you know that, in terms of culinary delights, there is no shortage of cupcakes in this town. We have amused ourselves (and our palates) by engaging in an informal taste-test of the offerings. So far we've sampled from three different purveyors of fine, fine cupcakey goodness:

- First up, we tried Betty's Tasty Buttons or Betty's Speakeasy or Betty's Buttons or whatever they call themselves. John is a huge fan of their fudge sauces, but I'll be honest – their cupcake offerings were good, but not mind-blowing. On to offerings closer to home...

- Recently opened in Fishtown (our neighborhood) - over at Berks and Belgrade - is Whipped Bake Shop. Now, their cupcake (we sampled the chocolate + chocolate, because we're purists), was definitely high-quality... but even more out-of-this-world was their salted caramel chocolate brownie. Ohhhhhh, good stuff. Here's John sitting contentedly at the Schuylkill River Park post-brownie:

- Thirdly - and also not far from us - was Brown Betty Dessert Boutique. Again, a quality chocolate cupcake - but the real knock-out was the fruit-filled pound cake cupcake – ours was lemon. Mmmmmmmmm. (Side note: what's up with all the Bettys making cupcakes? Hm.) Anyway, two frosting-coated thumbs up for cupcake offerings in Philly! Whooo!!

Aside from cupcake sampling, we seem to have found ourselves in several cemeteries and parks of late. I guess that means we're giving fair time to both death and (plant) life, right? Or... something. Here are some photos, first of Palmer Cemetery, which is also in our little neighborhood in Fishtown (they're our local dead):

Down in Society Hill, we found the cemetery for Old St. Mary’s Church, where Commodore Barry (among other Revolutionary War-era and 19th-century luminaries) is buried:
For some more history sans dead bodies, here’s Penn Treaty Park:
Here's another shot from the park – looks like the coast of Maine or something, no? In fact, no, it's just the "coast" of Pennsylvania.
We ran into a great community garden at Schuylkill River Park (where a nice French lady shared some of her chives and sage, yay!) There were still a surprising number of plants still hanging in there, including this tomato:
Overall, man, autumn in this city is just great, I forgot how much I missed it. And as for art? Of course, there’s been art! I’ll get to that in another post, including in-depth coverage of my Goldilocks-like quest for a drawing group that's juuuuust right... in the meantime, here are some more photos of Fall in Philly:
It's gingko season AND slippery rail season. Stinky AND slippy.
Here's a view from our bedroom window. A tree grows in Fishtown!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Love, Triangle.

Sending some love out to the (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) Triangle!

First off, John and I went to the National Women's Roller Derby Championships this past weekend here in Philly – unfortunately, we attended only the last day thereof, and therefore we missed the Philly Rollergirls playing (and, well, losing) on Saturday. Sadly, our beloved Carolina Rollergirls didn't rank high enough in the Eastern Division to compete in the event... but we did get to see Carolina player Eva Lye, who was at the event selling her awesome jewelry. Plus, John and I wore our Carolina T-shirts in solidarity with our original favorite team. Yay Rollergirls!

Roller derby! At the Philadelphia Convention Center

Also: I just read this really reeeeally nice post from fellow painter and awesome friend Alia El-Bermani - who I super-duper massively miss now that we're here in Philadelphia. A big shout-out to Alia, who I hope to drag up here to Philadelphia as often as possible until we convince her that she needs to be here permanently. Sigh. Anyway, check out the post - she started a painting of me before we moved, and she added in her AWESOME kitten, who is possibly the best kitten ever. Love that kitten, love that Alia. Sniff!

Painting by Alia El-Bermani: Diane with Kitten, oil on panel, 24" x 18".

Also – while I'm on the subject of great Raleigh peeps, here’s some nice news about the fabulous Megan Sullivan - she will be showing work at Jack Hanley Gallery in NYC as a part of the upcoming show "Four Women." The show is up through December 24, check it out!

Bottle Blonde, 2008, cotton and polyester, by Megan Sullivan

Friday, November 13, 2009

Your Mom.

So we have FINALLY managed to achieve 21st-century-appropriate home Internet access (with absolutely no thanks at all to Verizon - but that's a story for another time.) Which, of course, means that I will be better at updating this here blog in the coming days. In the meantime, though, Philadelphia asked me to pass a message along to you:
Man! It's a harsh town.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Philly updates.

Oh MAN, we've been busy. But in a good way! House = great, city = great, just trying to settle in. More updates soon - in the meantime, here's John with some Philadelphia City Hall looming in the background, looking all nice and all:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Philly ahoy!

Sorry for the long absence... was away for a wedding and then managed to come down with the flu. Was it the flu? You know, that one? I don't know... all I know is that it hit me hard at a time when I had a lot to do and now we're moving up to Philadelphia tomorrow and after that I need a long, long, long nap. Anyway - more updates will be posted soon, once we're settled (and in possession of an Internet connection). In the meantime, here's a painting I did recently for one of Raleigh's most awesome artists:
Superaugie, oil on printed fabric, 10"x10", 2009 by me, Diane Feissel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another weekend sketch.

We're headed up north for a wedding tomorrow... in the meantime, here's another sketch - this one in pencil - that I was working on late on Saturday (couldn't sleep, caught Drawing Fever. It happens.) Anyway, have a good weekend, Internet! And for those of you artists reading this, do any of you find that you have a particular time of day that you work best? I definitely seem to be most energetic and focused at night (and into the wee hours of the morning, unfortunately)... what about you?
Sketch of self in Afghan hat, graphite on paper, by me, Diane Feissel.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend sketch.

Been busy, trying to pull it all together for the move Northward. Here's a recent paint sketch - that's about all I have time for these days, unfortunately!
Portrait sketch of James, 2009, oil on panel, 6" x 6" (I think), by me, Diane Feissel.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Last first.

This past Friday was my last First Friday here in Raleigh, as we'll be moving up to Philadelphia at the end of this month. Sad! But it was good to see some great people, and some great art. I'll miss you, Raleigh artists!! Sigh. I'll definitely miss Alison Overton, who had a great exhibit of new photos at Flanders 311:
Alison and her gorgeous photos from the series entitled "Secret Hours."

A real, live theremin! And real, live theremin player. Cooool.

A little blurry – but wanted to pay tribute to Tamar's curatorial awesomeness. It's hard to see here, but you should go down to the gallery in person to observe the excellent flow of the exhibition.

Things have changed around a bit at 311, where I used to have my studio. Good people there, all of 'em. Now they have another reeeeeally good painter there, in the space I used to share with Shaun (who is currently in residence at the Bemis Center in Omaha, and has moved into a studio at Artspace). This new painter - her name is Marianita Stevans - has work up at this link, and currently at 311. Here's Judy from 311 with Marianita's gorgeous painting in the background:

Also awesome was getting these paintings from Casey Porn: yay Raleigh artists!!
Little itty-bitty paintings by Raleigh artist Casey Porn

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Uncovered, part deux.

So, here are some more of my newly-discovered (yet not newly-drawn) figure sketches, for your amusement and for the historical record:
Obviously a very unfinished sketch, but I was always fond of this pose - great line there. Right on, model! Whoever you were. I don't event remember where I did these - Philadelphia? San Francisco? '90s? '00s? Who knows.

Ditto this one - one of those cool poses that looks comfortable but most likely was not very comfortable after about 2 minutes.

Awesome pose and twist, but dreaded foreshortening! Poorly rendered!! Arggg! The agony of defeat.

Cool pose, but there's definitely something off about my proportions in this one. Sigh.

Monday, September 28, 2009


In the process of cleaning, weeding out stuff, re-organizing my closet, and packing - all in anticipation of eventually moving, of course - I ran across some drawings that I frankly didn't think I had hung on to. Surprise! There they were, hiding in my closet. Most of them are just sketches and studies from figure drawing sessions of years past... tons and tons of them, not all good. I also ran across these two sketches I did from life of myself and John, though... the one of John is undated, unfortunately, but probably comes from around the time of the self-portrait, which is dated in early 2001. So, for your amusement:
Early 2000s charcoal sketch of John by me, Diane Feissel
2001 graphite self-portrait sketch, with a decidedly over-emphasized chin... we can't win them all, folks.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I was in Philadelphia earlier this week for about, oh, 9 hours or so? Even in that brief amount of time, I managed to encounter a stellar specimen of sheer, unbridled Crazy in the form of a peculiar insert found in a SEPTA R1 Regional Rail (the train that goes to and from the Philly airport) schedule. I've scanned it and posted it here for your reading, um, pleasure:
P.S. If you can find any logic in this whatsoever, please don't tell me... because that probably means you're just as crazy as the author of this unique manifesto. Haha. Just kidding. Mostly. But seriously, what's up with the cats?

Monday, September 21, 2009


Went to Alia's to draw on Saturday morning - had a great model. Here's the sketch I came up with:
Sketch by me. Thanks to Alia for hosting - this is one of the things I'll miss when we move!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monster in the neighborhood.

So I came home from work this evening and found this out my window in the parking lot behind our apartment:
Perhaps you've heard of the Barrel Monster incident here in Raleigh from earlier this year? Well, as I guessed in this post, we are indeed neighbors of Joseph Carnevale, the guy who created the original barrel monster. The pic above is of his most recent creation, being built for this year's SparkCon event, a celebration of creativity and such held annually here in Raleigh. So, apparently this is a work-in-progress, a giant barrelosaurus of some sort... you can read more about it here. And go check it out in its finished form at SparkCon this weekend, if you're around Raleigh. In the meantime, the neighborhood kids are getting a sneak preview right in their own backyard, so to speak, as am I:
Carnevale, at right, with barrelosaurus-in-progress and interested neighborhood kids

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Location, location, location.

As we gear up for another relocation this fall, eventually, hopefully, we've been a tad busy. Sigh. In between some brief forays into printmaking, I have had some time to work on a few Fabrication paintings... here's one of the latest:
here's looking at..., diptych (each panel 20" x 10"), oil on printed fabric, 2009, by me, Diane Feissel

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The sound of silence.

Sorry for the long absence... been working on stuff. Art stuff, to be slightly more specific. Here's a snippet from something I'm working on but may never finish until I'm old(er) and (more) withered:
...a work in progress by me, Diane Feissel, featuring Huey and Fanny. It's in oil on printed fabric, fabric I procured at an adorable little fabric shop in San Francisco which, alas, is around no longer - likely a casualty of the recession. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The little prints.

Last weekend I embarked upon an adventure into printmaking. To be specific, an adventure into monotype – or so I'm told. I'm new to this whole printmaking thing... I find it very intimidating, somehow – it seems oddly unforgiving. For example: you can make a gross mistake and then WHAMMO, that mistake is permanently imprinted onto paper. I think I can say this was pretty much the case for my very first print, and those thereafter as well. But it was fun... trying? I think? I think part of my issue is my aversion to bad drawing, and I did some very bad drawing in the course of making these prints. Part of the issue for me is this: in the same way that I would be really bad at watercolor painting and working light-to-dark, I am reeeeally quite unskilled at working reductively (or "subtractively"), I've noticed – pulling out the lights from a plate full of dark ink. Eeesh. My customary habit with oil painting involves thinking and applying paint from dark tones to light tones, and it appears my brain is stuck that way. Well, for better or for worse, here are some of the results, in keeping with the theme of "Painters Under Pressure" – the title of the show for which I was making these prints - I was definitely feeling the pressure. Ungh. Stay tuned for more info on the exhibit, which will be in Raleigh next month.
My first and second attempts at monotype, respectively. AAAUUUUGHHH!!!!