Fun with Art

Hi folks,

It’s been so long since I posted, so I figured… today is the day. I was out of town for a couple of weeks, and have been busy since I got home. Today I’m just waiting for the library to open, doing chores, getting ready to go to the grocery store, the sunday type of things.

I have been able to go to my studio more frequently, after working a little early in the day, as the woman I assist is out of town, so I have been working earlier in the day and getting a lot done. It’s been great to get to know the new studio space better, and I am totally still very very very excited about it. I brought some plants over, and have been working on some new art.

Like I started a couple of figurative pieces! It’s been ages since I painted people, and I’ve missed it. And I’ve got an idea!!!!!!!! You’ll see.

Oh! I’ll have a piece at Portland City Hall this coming month, as part of a show celebrating Portland Open Studios’ 10 year anniversary!

I’m totally excited! The show opens this coming thursday, and will be up all month. Thursday will be awesome though, the mayor will speak, and it promises to be a great opening reception.

I’ve got great studio mates, and this last friday met for lunch with Michelle Ramin, who works in the space directly next to me. She is awesome! A wonderful artist and a wonderful person. We walked a bit in the neighborhood of the studio, and it was really fun to hang out with her. We both did some work before and afterwards, and it was very fun! She is an inspiring person, and I am glad that she is my new studio neighbor.

I recently got some of that reflective stuff that’s added to striping in street paint. I’m experimenting with it, so I can’t give you solid input about it yet, but I’ll be heading over to the studio at some point today, to pick up the painting that’ll be at City Hall. I’ll check out the reflective stuff so I know what it’s like when it’s dry, so I may know more later today. I hope it works! Industrial materials are so exciting as additions to fine art! But it’s hard to predict the outcome of their combination with acrylic paint and canvas or board.

I’m excited to try new things. Wheeeee!

I’ve been painting roots and plants, and am working up to a show about rooting at Launch Pad Gallery in August. This shwo will include many sculptures too. But I also hope to have another show before that. I have some new abstract work that needs to be in a gallery!

Anyhow, the library is open and I’ve got some books waiting for me, so I am going to put my shoes on and go for a little walk!

Thanks for reading, reader. I’ll post some photos soon, I keep forgetting my camera when I go to the studio.


PS Happy upcoming spring!

Portland Open Studios Day 3


Today was pretty slow, but it was fun. I got a bunch of work done. I got to talk to some nice folks.

My favorite part was a highschool class (well, maybe 6 girls and a teacher) who kind of interviewed me. One girl filmed it! She said she’d put it on youtube or something. I was excited.

It was pouring for much of the day. That torrential portland randomness, it was sunny sometimes too.

Some people said our signs weren’t very good. That they had a hard time finding the studio. Sad! Next year the signage will have to be different, since apparently it is not ok with the city to have the kind of signs we do. Not that I will necessarily do this next year. It is not lucrative really. I haven’t made my entry fee back yet. I hope tomorrow will be a bit better. But today at least I made five more dollars than last sunday. So I got to buy soup for my sweetheart and myself!

I’m just tired. I’m not trying to complain. No days off, no weekends, it’s sleepymaking. This is a bad year for some of us just starting out in the artworld. No, I know, I’m not just starting out. But I’m not famous either. Not yet. And the stinky economy is stinky. And things have been tough. Portland has a really high unemployment rate. The pay rate is not high here and the prices of homes and such have been going up still. SO times are tough, I know, I know. For real.

But all in all this experience has been really good. I’ve really learned a lot, and met a lo of great people. And learned how to talk about my art in a really good way! How to kind of teach painting. How to teach the plastic bag yarn making/crochet too. I have taught both before, but not given short demos. The past 2 weeks I’ve learned how to explain the painting technique that I use. Oh! I made up a name earlier, but I can’t remember it anymore! Dang.

I’ll post it when I remember.

Tomorrow is the last day of Portland Open Studios! I am excited to be open to talk to people for one more stretch. It should be a blast!

If you have time, please come see me. My studio is going to be open from 10 to 5. I’ll be there, making art, and will be happy to talk to you about it. If you’d like more information please message me. I look forward to talking to you soon!

Also, if you are not free tomorrow, I am happy to set up a studio visit for you.

Thanks so much for reading.



Portland Open Studios Day 2


Today was fun! It was slower than yesterday, people wise, but fun. I got some good work done, and talked about art with some folks. And I made 10 bucks. So that was good. That’s about $1.15 and hour. I get to buy something to eat for dinner. Yay happy hour!!!!

I love my studio. I just love it. What a great space to work in. I even love the train that goes by only 20 feet from my paintbrushes. I have such a wonderful community too. There are so many great folks that also work at the same studio. In case I didn’t mention this before, it’s called Switchyard Studios. We will have a group event in the spring, the space is still a little under construction. We need some floors that aren’t tretcherous and a few more walls. Oh the studio is just gorgeous when there are so many folks around. There is a juicy creative energy that is hard to describe. Sparkle!

And some of my friends came to visit yesterday too! Natalie St.John took some photos! I know, I haven’t had any pictures of myself making art, it’s usually a solitary process… so this whole studio being open stuff is really crazy for me! I like it. But it is crazy. I’m all like, “Welcome to my studio, come on in. I paint with acrylic paint and I mix the paint with water or clear acrylic medium. And I maybe sand or wash some of it off, then paint some more. I am trying for compressed depth of 100s of layers of drips. I most often paint on wood panels that I build myself.” Etc, etc, etc.

You’ve got to come visit to really see what I’m talking about.

Oh! I finished a painting today! I really love it! It’s got a lot of black in it. And is very abstract. Gorgeous. I will show you when you come over.

I’ll update some more next weekend. Please come on the tour if you are able. I’m number 29. Maggie Casey is a wonderful artist, also in Portland Open Studios, and works in my studio complex too. She is number 28. Follow the yellow signs from MLK or Grand. Also there will be red and yellow balloons around our front door!

Thanks so much for reading.


Katie Simpson Spain

PS Check out these photos of my space… don’t you want to come over next weekend! It’ll be fun!


Portland Open Studios!


Today was my first ever day of Portland Open Studios! It was awesome!

So many people came by and talked to me about art! And watched me making art! And some people even purchased some old art!

Dang! How cool! I am so tired though. I wish I had some photos to post, but I was nonstop. It took me until 2 to eat lunch, I was so nonstop.

And now I think I will sleep, but I wanted to update this and say how much fun the day was, and how awesome tomorrow will be too!

I think tomorrow will be more busy, today wasn’t too busy. I expected like 200 more people to come, but I have never done this before. So I really don’t know. I’ve heard somewhere around 300 people per weekend, but there are 2 of us on the tour in my studio building, so I htought we’d get more crossover and have twice as many folks.

Not that I am complaining. I am not. I am just tired. So I am going to go get some sleep and get ready for another full day in the studio! I am so excited to be able to spend so much good time there. I love the art, and I love to talk to nice people! So it’s a great combination!

I hope all of you, readers, have a great sunday. If you are in town come see my studio! I’m #29 in the Portland Open Studios tourguide calendar.

Oh! Bedtime.

Happy beautiful October!

October of Wonder

Hello all you lovely folks!

I just wanted to let you all know about the upcoming OCTOBER OF WONDER!

Many glorious events will be happening. You are invited! A few of mine include:

First Thursday at Tyson Gallery!
I will have a large installation here, Our Own Jungle. It will be completely
amazing, a plethora of plastic flora! Many new pieces of this organic looking
plastic bag sculpture. Come see huge brightly colored and intricate sculpture.
Tyson Gallery is located at 625 NW Everett St #116. This is actually on the
Broadway side. Please come see the show from 6 to 9 pm on First Thursday
the 1st of October!

Portland Open Studios!
Come see me working in my studio the second and third weekends of the
month, (the 10th and 11th, 17th and 18th). I will be there from 10 am to 5
pm all 4 of these days. Contact me for more information and please visit to get a lovely tourguide for the event.

Plastic Bag Yarn and Crochet class at Mission Mill Museum in Salem!
Come learn how to make plastic bags into yarn on Saturday October 24th.
The class will be from 1 pm to 4 pm. The museum is located at the old
Mission Mill – 1313 Mill St SE Salem, Oregon 97301 (503) 585-7012
See details and sign up here:

Hope to see you soon! Thank you so much for your support!

Katie Simpson Spain

Check out my new blog!

I’ve got a new website coming, but for now:

guardian (blossom detail)nyc drawingsfairytale woods

art jitters!

hello, does anyone have brown plastic bags (f. meyer, safew.) to give me?

i’ve been trying to fall asleep for 3 hours in nyc (1:30 here, not 10:30, wild-westies) – worrying about the tyson installation that i haven’t been able to work on – because of my new york adventures.

the show opens on thursday october 1st, so i have about 3 weeks to finish everything and then a few days to install.

i actually did complete one small sculpture, early in my trip, before i realized that i needed to actually get as much out of this trip as possible. as i will be working more for other people and unable to spend so long here. for a while.

if you have any bags to give me, i’ll be staying up ass late (after other work) for the rest of the month working on as much sculpture as possible and the 6th season of buffy. maybe the 7th too, depending on how many hours i end up in crochet.

just had the idea to do some loose abstract mural work in the gallery. i’ll have to check with the curator, but i think it may be ok. i know i’ve seen the walls of the gallery painted before. and if i help to restore them to white it’ll probably be ok. plus it’ll look so cool! that’d take me another 10 or so hours though. maybe. it’d be pretty abstract, and be on multiple walls (this is good! i can jump between pieces to increase productivity due to drying time) but i am a perfectionist. so i’ll have to be less specific than usual. and they’d be big. so there’s that.

and then there’s open studios! the 2nd and 3rd weekends of the month. i need to organize my studio and set it up so it’s a good place to show the public what i do. and set up demo stations, so i can work and interact at the same time. and then i have to organize the plastic bag crochet class i’ll be teaching at the mission mill museum in salem. and get all of that stuff ready.

but i’ll be home soon. and i can worry about all of that stuff then. i’ve got a busy day tomorrow, with the cleaning and laundry and packing and making sure everything is taken care of. then the getting to the airport, on the plane and going home. and then the being home part. so i’d better try to fall asleep again. hopefully it’s not another hour of that turning, tossing, flipping, worrying stuff.

thanks for reading my late night insomniac rant.

more about the new york trip soon. i’ve got some good stuff that i forgot to put in here.

Studio Fun!


I accidentally spent all day reorganizing my studio. It really was all day. Whoops.

I was supposed to help Robin Lehto film something at the bins (big rumagey goodwill in SE Portland). But I lost track of time.

I moved all of my shelves around. And made room in different areas for people to come into the studio in October!

I’ve been working odd jobs to make ends meet, so haven’t had much studio time recently. And I will be starting a 2/3 time dayjob super soon. So I won’t have much time to move stuff around. Mostly time to paint! And crochet! So I just did it. And it’s so good that it’s done!

Plenty of other stuff to do – but I did it.
And the darn thing was MESSY! Tell you what!

But, having spent maybe 6 hours moving the furniture back and forth I think I got it down finally!

I have a nook for old paintings and one for wood for future painting construction. And a nook for the easels (I usually have 3 going at least!) And the entrance is all cleared up and ready for people to enter. Some tables/desks over there for me to demonstrate how I do what I do on.

Well, it’s almost done. I do need to do some other stuff too… but, well, it’s 75% done.
And there is really only so much I can do in one day, when I have other stuff going on (like volunteer jobs {portland open studios!, vvsn, oh, wait I dropped the other ones when i got too busy}, and art and my sweetheart and the cat and meals and sleeping and growing sprouts and blogging and looking for shows on the internet).

Soooooo, in October – in time for PORTLAND OPEN STUDIOS! – the studio is sure to be organized enough for people to come and see it. I have plans too… I may spill out a bit into the studio shop and common area and use some space that’s around…

To buy a tourguide for this event please check out!


Plus the part where my studio will function better and be a more fun place to work! Maybe next week this will be true. I have a couple of days of… I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hope to see you there in October! The second and third weekends I will be there and will happily explain what I do and how!

Love Katie

a sculpture I made - this will be on view at the Tyson Gallery in NW Portland in October.

a sculpture I made - this will be on view at the Tyson Gallery in NW Portland in October.

wow it’s hot!

oh man! it’s supposed to be over 100 degrees here in portland today.
and i am already sweating!
my studio is stuffy and hot, so i am intimidated by the prospect of going there.
tonight i am going to a workshop for portland open studios, of which i am the treasurer and on the board. this, the second of 2 workshops, is at 7 pm. but until then i am not sure what to do with myself.
i think i might go to the mall and paint. or draw. the mall i speak of has an ice rink and is very nicely air conditioned.
i am not good at not getting paint on the floor when i am painting though. actually i will probably get kicked out of the mall if i go there. as i am a tattooed pigtailed grouch today. and no, i won’t dress more like the other people at the mall, it’s too hot.
so i may not interact nicely with anyone who asks me to not get paint on the floor.
too hot to handle!
well, i need to eat something.
i’ve been putting it off, but i must override my natural instinct to only have coffee or i will become even more of a grump.
also i need to get the air conditioner running. it’s one of those old small window numbers that just got taken out of the basement, so the filter was washed and drying on the porch for a few and should be ready to go.
ok, smoothie time!
hope it’s cooler where you are, reader!