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1.31.15 Tallahasse pix  (60 of 77)

Old and new Florida State Capitol buildings; the 22nd Floor Gallery is at the top of the new State Capitol building

 The gallery setup December, 2014, rolled around and I hadn’t heard any more information and updates from the woman in charge of the gallery. I emailed and called for two weeks. I finally received the information that she was taking care of an elderly parent and would get back to me which she did about a week later. By this time it was early January. Another woman who told me she was the newly appointed curator for the gallery then contacted me. She gave me the information that I needed about when I was going to hang the artwork and when the show was going to be taken down. She then sent a revised layout of the gallery floor plan as they had renovated the space earlier in the year. I got to work and began taking the measurements of my work and laying the information onto the floor plan drawing. Fortunately, I had printed several copies and penciled in the dimensions so I could get the arrangement of work the way I wanted it to be displayed. A few days later I was with friends at a garden art show in Miami when I received a phone call from the curator. When they had transitioned over to the new curator, one of the artists that had been previously selected to exhibit had been mistakenly told that she could have the time slot to exhibit that I had been assigned. How was she going to resolve the problem and keep everyone happy? I agreed to allowing my work to be shown in the gallery for a month and a half and then move the artwork downstairs and across the street to the lobby of the Secretary of State’s office. They would move the artwork for me and re-hang the show. Whew! I finalized my arrangements and began packing my artwork.  After I bagged and wrapped all of my paintings I loaded up my station wagon with my husband and started the seven hour drive north to Tallahassee. We decided to make a mini vacation out of it and stretched it out over two days. We were then able to catch up with a friend in Tampa and spend the evening at a favorite restaurant in Ocala. We even ate three-dozen oysters at an old Florida restaurant near Tallahassee!

1.31.15 Tallahasse pix  (40 of 77)

Warren enjoying his Oyster feast

Rep. Mark Pafford & Mono

Representative Mark Pafford and friends

The next day we had made arrangements to meet State Representative Mark Pafford, the House Minority Whip in his office in the Capitol. We had met him a month earlier at a chance encounter in the Everglades and I had looked him up and told him when I was going to be in the building. Meanwhile, I had to park my car on the building grounds—not an easy task. The curator met us at the guard gate and arranged our parking while we went upstairs to see him. We then drove the car into the bowels of the building after the police ran a mirror under the car and lowered the security walls to allow us to drive in. We placed all of the artwork on a rolling cart and load it onto one of the two elevators that would stop at the twenty-second floor. Then the three of us began the over four hour process of hanging the work. The woman who was supposed to assist the curator was out helping her mother—otherwise the curator was going to have to hang the twenty-five pieces of artwork herself. Thank goodness for my husband the handyman!

2.2.15 Capitol Gallery Images (21 of 23)

Flamingo Fixit hanging “Hava Tampa”

He speeded up the task and quickly figured out the hanging logistics for some of the larger paintings. We worked until we were told we had to leave at 5:30 pm as the building was closing. When we tried to leave we had to speak to security through an intercom box so they could raise the guard gates. We drove off and celebrated with an early dinner and returned to the hotel for the evening.


Muffy Clark Gill and Representative Kathleen Passidomo

  The next morning we met our State Representative, Kathleen Passidomo and her aide, at the gallery so she could see the exhibition and we could have some publicity pictures taken. (She ran her picture in her weekly newsletter that week). I took pictures of the entire exhibition for my own records and spent a few minutes savoring the excitement and self satisfaction. I had achieved my goal!  

Around 2006 I started to get more serious about what path my artwork would take me. I hired an art coach to help me decide upon a consistent theme to my artwork and what goals I wanted to achieve. I created a “bucket list” of what shows and places I wanted to display. The top of the list was to have a solo exhibition in the Florida State Capitol 22nd floor art gallery. The state capitol building is 22 stories tall with an observation deck on the top floor. This observation area also features an art gallery. The gallery features Florida artists in solo exhibitions that last usually three months in length and changes four times a year.


To exhibit in the Capitol gallery an artist has to go to the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and download an application from the Art in State Buildings link. There are five different requirements that are listed in order to apply. The artist has to have done at least three of the five. These include: providing a complete CV (Curriculum Vitae) or list of education, solo shows, group exhibitions, prizes won, etc. a solo showing in a museum, letters of recommendation, ten slides of your work in digital format, and more.


I decided that I wanted to submit as my body of work my “American Native series” featuring the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes of Florida. I had been working on this body of work off and on for the last fifteen years, but I still needed enough paintings that showed continuity in order to make a statement. To that end I worked for the last six years creating new works. After a lot of different attempts I finally created a unifying element that tied them all together: a stylized men’s Seminole jacket that also incorporated different design elements that related to the center panel in the wall hanging.


Vote Yes! for Harness Racing

My first painting in the style of a man’s Seminole Jacket: “Vote Yes! for Harness Racing”
It is now in the Florida Gulf Coast University Art in State Buildings Collection.

When I felt comfortable enough that I had enough paintings to show as a solo exhibition, I began the long process of filling in the check boxes in the application. One of the boxes required a solo exhibition in a museum. I was able to have an artist friend introduce me to the manager of the Marco Island Historical Museum. I met with her and the gift shop manager and showed them my portfolio. (iPads are a wonderful vehicle for showing artwork). They agreed to an exhibition which was shown in their gallery from October, 2012, through December, 2012.


Exhibition at the Marco Island Historical Museum

Exhibition at the Marco Island Historical Museum


I was able to use that body of work to apply to the Southwest Florida Museum of History. That show ran from October, 2013, through December, 2013. I added four more paintings to that show along with photos taken of me painting and creating a piece. I gave these to the Museum’s communications manager. Those photos ended up being used several times in regional newspaper articles about my show in the Naples Daily News and the cover of the weekend activity section of the Ft. Myers News-Press.


I then started the time consuming process of applying. I worked on the application off and on over the course of two weeks. Once I had it proofread and my artist statements were in order, I applied in June, 2013. After not hearing about the receipt of my bulky application packet I called the Division of Cultural Affairs Office—“Yes, they had received it and the jurying committee was meeting the following week.” How lucky was that? Often you have to wait several months to a year as most shows are booked two years in advance. I waited, and waited and waited.


Finally, I called again at the end of December, 2013—“Oh, didn’t I know I had been accepted to display from February 1, 2015 through April 30, 2015?”


A multi page exhibition contract was mailed to me right away which I initialed, signed and returned. I also had to submit a list of the proposed paintings in the exhibition for insurance purposes. To this list I added titles for three new paintings that I wanted to create (and finally only had time to get one piece completed due to other show commitments and commissions).

I was on my way!




1. Muffy Clark Gill_Muted Swan_2014_mixed media_24x48.75 in

Muffy Clark Gill Muted Swan, mixed media, 24 x 78.5 in

I always talk about my work being a series of “happy accidents”, but sometimes those accidents can turn into near calamities. Not every painting that I create turns out exactly the way I envision it.

For example,

I recently wanted to create a painting of a swan from a photograph that I had taken at Homosassa Springs State Park. This painting I wanted to create as a Diptych (or two panel painting ) that I visualized hanging on either side of a doorway so that the eye would look at the image and visually fill in the gap between the two panels.

I went through my usual process of redrawing a line image of the photograph onto the Habitae silk that I had stretched out on my larger Moyer Design Frame. I then started waxing and dying in each layer from light to dark to start to build up my colors. I then hit a roadblock: the black dyes that I had painted on did not get as black as I had wanted-in fact they had looked rather murky and lacked crispness. I kept working on different techniques to sharpen the black color. One which I learned from my friend, Kiranada Sterling Benjamin, was to paint over the black with red, let dry and dye again. That helped clean up that problem.

I finished the painting (or so I thought) by removing the wax and steaming the colors to set them. I then attached the two pieces of fabric (since I had just divided the painting in two) using Mod Podge (a form of white glue). I then sealed it with a topcoat of Golden GAC 100 medium. BIG MISTAKE! It looked great while applying, but immediately I noticed air bubbles forming on the surface of the panels. As the gel medium dried, the bubbles got larger and the whole painting looked horrible! I called Golden Paints for advice on what to do. Their tech support person suggested that I would have to remove the painting from the panels, clean off the offending product and mount all over again. Yikes!

It took me three days to loosen the panels with sprays of water to remove them from the canvas backing. It then took almost two weeks to physically scrape off the offending product with a plastic credit card scraper until I could get it looking half decent again. In the process the colors of the painting faded significantly and the fine details of the piece were almost bleached out. I thought the painting was a goner!

The faded left panel


Panels with damage

The restoration in process

In the meantime I had taken pictures of the fabric panels before I mounted them and had put together an image from those photographs. Thanks goodness that I did! I was able to have a digital reproduction made of that image so that it matched how I had wanted the original painting. I then went back and embellished the two canvas panels with different painting techniques and additions to create a second painting. For a while, I thought that would become the final version of the painting.


 Muffy Clark Gill, Swan Lake, 2014,mixed media, 24 x 78.5 in

I put the original painting aside while I tried to figure out where to go from there. I then decided to try fixing it again. This time I adhered the silk on the wrong side of the painting, as it had faded less, and adhered it to gray eco-felt as a backing. I then stretched the eco-felt over the canvas supports and remounted the pieces.

How was I going to save the image that remained? I went back to my arsenal of fabric marker pens and carefully redrew the outlines of every detail in the painting. This process took me almost another two weeks of work until I was satisfied with the result. I also had to use some fabric paint to even the level of color on both sections of the swan’s body so that the two panels would match. I finally had a painting that I felt was worthy of all of the time and labor I had put into it.

It goes to show that you can learn from your mistakes….I just don’t want to ever have that happen to me again!

The Creation of “Drake”


Every once in a while, I like to let my readers see How I go about creating one of my Batik/Rozome paintings.  First off, My readers ask “What is Rozome?”  The easiest way I can explain it is that Rozome is a wax and dye resist process similar to Batik, but using Japanese bamboo brushes to paint the soy/beeswax onto the fabric, while a different style of bamboo brush pushes the dye into the dampened silk fabric, rather than immersing it in a dye tank.

For this painting I selected a photograph I took of a male Wood Duck that was take by me last spring at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Central Florida.

This beautiful park features all animals that are found in the state of Florida with the exception of  “Lu “, the Hippo, an honorary citizen.  You can see all sorts of wonderful birds, manatees, otters, alligators and much more.  Well worth a visit!

I then enlarged my photograph so that I could make a large line drawing to work from. I used this drawing to serve as a road map for my project.  Working from the drawing, I transferred the lines onto a large piece of silk, creating my own drawing on the fabric. Then, after stretching the panel to keep it taught, I applied a layer of soy and beeswax to the areas that were to remain white.  Gradually, I would wax over each successive color from light to dark as you can see from these works in progress photos.  (I did the most of the background first before I went back in and worked on the duck).Image

During this process, I am following the hundreds of fine lines I drew on the back of the fabric so I could created the water effects (My friends think I am nuts). I am still waxing as each value of color is painted onImageHere you can see the darker tones are gradually being added.


ImageHere is the piece almost ready to be ironed out to remove the wax.

After I have removed most of the wax by ironing and blotting, I then roll the piece up in several layers of newsprint like a jellyroll and steam it for three hours in a converted Turkey fryer.  Removing the piece from the newsprint, I then rinse it in a chemical bath to remove any excess dye before I press it dry.  The painting is then ready for a photograph and to frame it!

Now featured on Artsy Shark!

Agua XIII The Red LeafI know I haven’t written a blog posting in a while-I’ve been so wrapped up in creating and organizing my artwork (not to mention exhibiting and creating a revised website) For 2014, I decided that I wanted to get back into chronicling my ideas and inspirations for my art. I have a lot of work to do: I received a notice that I will be showing in the gallery at the Florida State Capitol in 2015– more Seminole kimonos to create.

I have submitted work for the Florida Contemporary show at the Baker Museum of Art, and next week I am venturing over to Boca Raton to see two of my “Agua” series paintings, Red Leaf 1 and Red Leaf 2 in their opening day at the Nathaniel Rosen Museum and Gallery.

A happy and busy time for me.

Meanwhile, I submitted work to Artsy Shark, an online site that helps to promote visual artists. Carolyn Edlund of Artsy Shark selected my work after I made several revisions to my website and images. the results are amazing!

You can read about my work on the article here:Artsy Shark

Many thanks to Carolyn and her webmaster Jason Stambagh for making this happen!

Back from the Dry Cleaners

After a week at my favorite dry cleaners, the painting looks bright and shiny.  The silk threads glisten.  The main panel is ready for its two soulmates to be created !

Final Image for Wet World

Final Image for Wet World

Take it all off!

I am now in the final stretch of this piece.  I have added a few more colors to paint on, and then it’s time for waxing out.  As you can see, I am placing  sheets of newsprint over portions of the image at a time,  allowing the wax to absorb into the newsprint.  This takes at least 1/2 an hour of my time.  Quite  often I am asked:”How long does it take for you to create one of these paintings”.  I actually loose track after a while, but in this case, the photo enlargement, and placing on the fabric have taken over 3 hours; the waxing of the white layer took about two hours, then the remaining layers took another 4-5  hours.  This does not count the drying time between each layer of wax and dye. So for this project, I already have at least 11 hours work before touch up and finishing to go.

Ironing out the wax

Using newsprint to remove the wax

Rubbing off the excess dye before dryingIroning out the last traces of wax

The Continuing Process

Darker blue waters are added

Darker blue waters are added

Now I am getting really excited about this painting.  The colors are holding their own.  The next few photos are showing the build-up of color, moving towards the final result

Dying Steps, part 2

Dying # 4

Dying # 4, adding more color

After these first two rounds of dying and painting are completed, I go on and add more color, working from light to dark, trying to bring out as many details as I can. the painting begins to take shape

Version three of the dying process

I now can get started with my dying process. This painting is very complex, due to the number of color combinations and waxings that must be done in order to accomplish getting the information in front of me to look like what I have envisioned. I start by painting on all of the white areas with hot wax. This time around, pure white is few and far between, so after I do the initial waxing I paint on the next few colors: yellow for the floating debris, and a pale rose pink for the basic flesh. tone While the painting is still wet, I decide that it is too intense, so I paint a layer of ecru dye over the pink over the wet fabric, to more carefully match the color I am looking for. This gets waxed, and I keep on going…

"Warren's World" in the early stages

"Warren's World" in the early stages

"Warren's World" Panting with first few dyebaths started
“Warren’s World” Painting with the first few dye baths started

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