And the Winners (Finally) Are…

Joy Yagid and Reflection!

Joy has won her choice of my Art-by-the-Inch Necklaces, and Reflection has won the most votes in my pick-your-favorite poll.

Joy's winning image and the winning necklace!

Joy's winning image and the winning necklace!

I’m always so happy to highlight the winner of one of my giveaways. It gives me the opportunity to connect with someone I didn’t know so well and find out cool things about them.

Joy is no exception. You must check out her website to see what delightful images she creates. Whether she’s shooting people, nature, architecture or abstracts — Joy captures the same quality in all. I can’t think of a better word to describe her work than joyful!

P.S. I’m delighted that Joy pick Reflection as her prize! You can check it out, along with my other Art-by-the-Inch Necklaces, in my Etsy Shop.

OMG The Giveaway!

This is where my juggling capabilities falter.

I should known this. I should have a mental Post-It note blocking out certain times on the calendar. Doesn’t matter if I’m well prepared — June hits, and my life gets crazy.

The Downside: weeks have gone by without a single blog post. Worst of all, I completely forgot about my Art-by-the-Inch Necklace giveaway. (The results of which are in the following post.)

The Upside: I’ve been doing a lot of wonderful things, while I wasn’t keeping up with my blog!

All of my blogging energy was used for good: Last week, The New York Times Local ran a series of mini-profiles of the artists who were opening their doors for the South Orange/Maplewood Studio Tours.

I opened my studio doors for the tour as well. It was an amazing day: I met a lot of new friends, caught up with many old friends and even managed to sell some art!

I’m finishing tons of paintings — yay! I just posted a few new ones on my web site, and there are many more to come. It feels so great to clear out some space in my studio and my brain so I can concentrate on the next big thing.

So enough with the excuses, June is almost halfway over, and I’m going to see if I can make up for lost time on my blog. Here’s to tomorrow!

Hold on Tight!


Read what the New York Times has to say about artists and the economy.

Sunday: Went to Target with my daughter to get, among many other things, wrapping paper for my niece’s birthday present. Got home — no wrapping paper.

Tuesday: Stopped into the local grocery store for a few much needed items. Later in the evening — with a flimsy, tearing bag of sloppy garbage in one hand — I searched high and low for the huge box of garbage bags I bought earlier — nowhere to be found!

Later Tuesday: Paid for a $5.50 hair thingy for my daughter’s dance recital. Used my last $20 bill ’til payday. Later, as I was preparing for the next day’s field trip I was to chaperone, I stared in my wallet with a feeling of frustration, realizing that I had been given change for a $10, not a $20. Now I have $4.50 to last me ’til payday.

Thursday: Trying to buy dinner for my family at the local pizza place, I tried to use my PayPal card. I knew I had money on this card — I checked before I left the house. The nice girl at the counter told me my card had been declined, “Please try again” I asked. Second time, no better luck. So I ran back to my car, got my bank card, took out $20 and ran back to get the food. Later, double checking that stinkin’ PayPal account, I noticed that I had indeed been charged for the food on my card! Oh, please.

Now, I’m absolutely certain that none of the people involved in these transactions had nefarious deeds in mind. But I can’t help but wonder if subconsciously everyone is holding on to things a little tighter? Or, it could be just a crazy coincidence — highlighted by the fact that it was very busy week and I may not have checked things as well as usual.

Coincidence or not — I’m going to be checking what I pay for vs. what I get a little closer!

Read this! — With the tightening of belts, comes the loosening of creativity. Here’s an article from the New York Times about how the economy is affecting artists and their work.

UPDATE: OK, maybe it is just me. Coming back to check this post that I put up this morning, I found three grammatical errors and one misspelling. (And that’s just the ones that I found — I’m sure there are more — my trusty editor-husband is out of town!)

Behind the Action at Disney

The colors and detail in Snow White — Disney's first full length animated feature — are still enough to make me sing!

For any of you who missed my last post, Lisa Pressman asked me to write about my top ten influences. You can see the entire list at her blog, Lisa Pressman Art Blog. I like the exercise so much, I decided to explore each one of them as a separate post.

No. One on my list is Walt Disney. Here’s what I wrote about him in Lisa’s blog:

1. Walt Disney — Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny his influence on our culture today. Saturday matinees at the local theater in Grand Rapids allowed me my first glimpses into the world of art. While the action was playing out in the foreground, I would find myself entranced by the captivating world created by the studio’s background artists.

I imagine that for many children like myself, animated films are their main exposure to visual art. Though I always loved to paint and draw and make things, I never set foot into a real art museum until I was in college.

Eyvind Earle spins some Disney Magic in his backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty

I admit that I am one who enjoys Disney stuff. (We’re easy to spot: Say the word “Disney” and you either get eyes as big as Bambi’s or a shudder.) We’ve taken our lucky children to Disney theme parks many times in their short lives.

But, as much as I like all the trimmings, by far the biggest influence on my art has been the amazing backgrounds in his early films. I learned a lot about painting by looking at these lush environments — things that I may have learned from from the masters in museums but didn’t. Disney is accessible.

Disney’s talented team of background painters would set a stage where anything could happen. A world that invites you to come in and create your own story.

It’s not that Disney created a world of fantasy for me, but he planted the seeds, so I could create that kind of place for myself.

Biotic Fizz.close

(I was delighted to come across a blog by Rob Richards called Animation Backgrounds. Rob has an amazing collection of background art, from Snow White to Lilo and Stitch. It’s cool to be able to separate the action of the figures from these rich scenes.)

My Influences: Top Ten


Tomorrow I'll talk about influencer #1, Disney — see any similarities?

My friend Lisa Pressman invited me to do a guest post on her brand-new art blog, aptly named Lisa Pressman Art Blog. She asked me to give her a list of my top ten influences. It was a little harder than I thought it would be; some were obvious choices, but some I had to dig a little deeper to find. Overall it was a great and enlightening exercises. Go check it out at Lisa’s place, and tell her I sent you!

I decided that I wanted to take each of those influences and expound on them. So for the weeks to come, I’m going to be visiting the ghosts of my past. Hope you’ll join me!

New in the Shop: Mum!


Flower. Mother. Hush.

This is one piece that I actually had a vision of before I started, and stuck with it to the end.

I usually start off with an idea, and then it kind of blossoms from there — free flowing.

One time I counted each little flower and circle that I cut, but I’ve forgotten. I do still have the callous on my thumb from cutting all of them out with scissors!

I recently added this piece as a print in my Etsy Shop. It’s available in 8-x-10- and 13-x-19-inch sizes.For a limited time, the large print is on sale for $30.

Animating the Still Life

Touch by Jennifer Lewis Takahashi

Touch by Jennifer Lewis Takahashi

In my second installment of West of Chelsea for the New York Times Local, I interviewed Jennifer Lewis Takahashi.

Jennifer spins a web with her fascinating still lifes. She talks with me about her work and life, reflecting on how one influences the other.

Still life was the best subject because I could arrange things exactly how I wanted them. That, along with my realistic style, felt like a dot of control in a blaze of chaos! These compositions were busy and crowded and echoed how I was feeling in many ways.

In my own struggles with realism, I admire her ability to express herself in this context — and do it in such an engaging way.

Read it here, then tell me what you think!

Art by the Inch Giveaway!

Vote for your favorite

I’ve been a little like the bees swarming my garden lately: working tirelessly on various projects — big and small. I’m guilty of neglecting my blog and the dear readers who come here looking for morsels and tidbits.
So to make up to all you who loyally visit (and all you new folks, too), I’m having a giveaway!
One of those various tasks I’ve been busy with was getting together a line of jewelry — Art by the Inch. These darling necklaces are the first in my line, and I want to hear what you think! Please check them out at my Etsy shop and then come back and vote for your favorite, using the handy “vote-matic” thingy below.
I’d also love to hear any feedback — so if you leave me a comment, from now until the end of May, I’ll put your name in for a free necklace of your choice.
xo Nancy

Shedding Light on New Jersey Art Scene (with the New York Times)

Join me as I peek into the beehive of activity that is New Jersey’s art scene. In my new feature for the New York Times blog I’ll be exploring the vibrant visual art scene on this side of the Hudson- especially its relationship to the centers of gravity just across the river.

My first visit is with Sarah Petruziello and her haunting self portaits. Armed with only graphite and eraser, Sarah weaves a spell — making me wonder — what lies within those darkest blacks?

Nocturne by Sarah Petruziello

Nocturne by Sarah Petruziello

I Am the Consumer by Sarah Petruziello

I Am the Consumer by Sarah Petruziello

Ten Fun Things to Do in Asbury Park (While You’re Down There for the Show at Parlor Gallery)

You’ve been working hard — you deserve a little break! The weatherman said it’s going to be nice — so grab your sunglasses and toss your cares out with the snow shovel.

1. Stroll the boardwalk

2. Have a delicious dinner

3. Shop

4. Coffee

5. Bowl

6. See a punk show

7. Nightcap overlooking the ocean

8. Pamper yourself

9. Strange reading at Paranormal Books & Curiosities

10. See my art at the Parlor Gallery … opening Saturday night with DJ, food and drink

Jill Ricci, co-owner of the Parlor (who’ll be exhibiting with me), is full of great suggestions for local fun. “A good site to check out for events in Asbury is,” Jill says. “The boardwalk is always a good bet, with lots of cool shops and restaurants. Some good ones there are Stella Marina (delicious Italian) and the Watermark (drinks and light fare in a beautiful lounge overlooking the ocean).

“On Cookman near us there is a great BYOB Restaurant called Plan B ( 2 doors
down), and across the street a nice bar/restaurant called the Harrison. You can read some reviews here.

“If someone wants some live music and cabaret and bowling fun, my partner Jenn
also co-manages a great venue called the Asbury Lanes— great Lounge …

“Also, if anyone wants to stay over night, I highly recommend both the Hotel Tides Restaurant and Spa Hotel and Mikell’s Big House, both online.”

Thanks, Jill — and I hope to see everyone else there!

Here’s some of the tempting treats at the Rare Pleasures Show — and more info here!

Lorraine Glessner

Hannah Stouffer

Aaron McElroy

Aaron McElroy

Tara Misenheimer

Tara Misenheimer

… and Yours Truly!

… and Yours Truly!

What’s Goin’ On – Spring 2009

Parlor Gallery ©Parlor Gallery

Parlor Gallery ©Parlor Gallery

Greetings from Asbury Park!

I have several paintings in Rare Pleasures, a show that is opening on April 18th, from 7 to 11 PM at the brand-new Parlor Gallery. What wonderful way to usher in spring — taking in art and good food while enjoying New Jersey’s beautiful Shore.

Parlor Gallery

717 Cookman Avenue

Asbury Park, NJ 00712

The Rupert Ravens Contemporary ©Rupert Ravens

The Rupert Ravens Contemporary ©Rupert Ravens

Next Post – Show Extended Until the End of April

There’s still time to check out the show that Benjamin Genocchio of the New York Times says “… grabs your attention from the moment you walk in the door.”

Be sure to see the seven paintings I have hanging in the Viewing Room.

Rupert Ravens Contemporary

85 Market Street

Newark, NJ



Welcome Home!

I pleased to be included in the annual  Studio Tours of South Orange and Maplewood! It’s a great chance for me to answer a lot of questions and meet a lot of people.

Tickets are available at Pierro Gallery of South Orange and 1978 Maplewood Arts Center.

Studio Tours of South Orange and Maplewood

Sunday June 7, 2009 —  11-5:00PM

Hope to see you there!

In The Shop — Spring Sale!

I want spring — and I want it now!

I don’t know about you, but I live in the Northeast — where spring is slowly peeping its beautiful head out of its muddy covers. Can’t happen fast enough, as far as I’m concerned!

I’m hoping to coax it along a bit by having a sale on some of my most “springy” prints. Each of these 8 x 10 inch prints will be offered for $15 each. And the larger prints will  be offered at $35 each or two for $60! (The cold-yucky-ole-winter price is $20 for 8 x 10s and $40 for the large prints.)

Come into the shop and pick up a bouquet for your home!

Starting at the top, from left to right: Push, Succulence, Spring Riot I, Tickle II, Tickle I, One World, Flirt, Bow and Spring Riot II

Starting at the top, from left to right: Push, Succulence, Spring Riot I, Tickle II, Tickle I, One World, Flirt, Bow and Spring Riot II

In the Studio: Hush Redux

I’ll probably be posting a lot of “In the Studio” pieces in the near future; as I am frantically trying to get work finished for a few upcoming shows (More on those soon!)

So here’s another peek at what I’ve got going on!

After my wonderful Fellowship at the Brodsky Center; I was left with more than a head-full of exciting ideas, new friends and wet clothes. I also received 10 of the 30 editioned pieces of Hush — my glorious collaboration with papermakers Lisa Switalski and Anne McKeown.

New peice in progress

Hush Redux - in progress

Hush - Paper pulp

Hush - Paper pulp

I was also given all the proofs that didn’t quite make the grade. Of course, as a collage artist I’m not going to get rid of any of those delicious bits! So I thought I’d share with you the beginning of this new painting I’m doing —  using the scraps from Hush as a base. I’m not sure where I’ll be taking it from here… but I’ll keep you updated as it progresses!

Also, I’ve included a shot of the very start of the piece I’m doing with the shadows — that I mentioned in the previous post.

Layers to go before I sleep, layers to go before I sleep!

The first layer of shadows

The first layer of shadows

In the Studio: Shadow Play



One of my latest obsessions in the studio is trying to capture the effects of shadows.

I had this painting of a tree trunk and it’s roots (another obsession.) After cutting the whole thing out — to use in a painting, I decided take some snap-shots of the cool shadows that the twining branches created on the wall.

I was at my new studio, which is still not fully equipped yet, so I had no way of hanging the roots, and only the lousy camera on my iphone. So I held the roots in one hand and the camera (with no flash) in the other. Not perfect, but interesting.

We’ll see how they enter into my future painting!

Three Poems

Inside front cover of Three Poems (showing die-cut jacket)

Inside front cover of Three Poems (showing die-cut jacket)

Three Poems © Jerome Rothenberg and Nancy Tobin

Three Poems © Jerome Rothenberg and Nancy Tobin

I was lucky enough to collaborate on a project with the highly esteemed and brilliant poet Jerome Rothenberg.

It all started with an event at the Stevens Institute titled The Visible Word Project. Poets and artists were paired to present three poems and three pieces of artwork. Whose work was inspired by whose was up to the pair.

I got off easy — Jerome decided to write poems inspired by my work.

Working with Jerome was a dream. The event went well, and as a result we were invited to be a part of this amazing anthology by Roxanne Hamilton titled Viz Inter-Arts Event: A Trans-Genre Event. “Nearly 100 writers, artists, film-makers, performers & scholars transgress genre boundaries to forge new forms & relationships between the arts.” I’m almost giddy to be in the same book as the likes of Joe Brainard/Ron Padgett, George Hitchcock, Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek!

We didn’t want the fun to stop! So Jerome and I decided to make a book of our own: Three Poems. This 16-page book has 3 full-color spreads featuring the artwork and poems, together, as pretty as can be. (I did the design as well.) The book is available through many online distributors, but if you buy it from me at my Etsy shop, you get a free print with your order!

This Post: “Next Post”

Me, at the opening

Me — At the opening reception of Next Post

I’m absolutely thrilled that I have seven paintings at Rupert Ravens Contemporary right now.

He just opened his new exhibition titled Next Post. I attended the opening on Saturday. Rupert hit it out of the park! I think the best show he’s had so far. Some of my favorites: Gae Savannah, Bradley Wester, [dNASAb], Fred Gutzeit, Cordy Ryman… Check out Rupert’s website, then GO CHECK OUT THE SHOW!

You don’t want to miss this one.

© dNASAb


© Fred Gutzeit

Fred Gutzeit

© Bradlely Wester

Bradley Wester

© Cordy Ryman

Cordy Ryman

Gae Savannah

Gae Savannah

In Like a Lion

Today is March first, and according to the weather report, March will do it’s expected Lion thing tonight. Sounds like a doosie, 6 to 10 inches overnight and more tomorrow. I really was hoping to put away the shovel for the year… Ugh! It will all be okay, if indeed March does depart like a sweet little lamb at the end of the month — never to return again until Dec 24th!

Lily's Hat — Ready for the Challenge!

Lily's Hat — Ready for the Challenge!

On a cheerier note; today was the drawing for the Two Free Prints Giveaway!

I had 66 names to put in Lily’s hat tonight. and despite the persistent winter weather, I was feeling extra warm and generous. So, I picked two names!

The First was Karla Stingerstein. Karla is a wonderful artist and you can read about her and see some of her beautiful work here. Karla will win two 8 x 10 inch prints of her choice!

The second name I pulled out was Sarah Ellis. Sarah has an amazing, online store for handmade baby goods, called The Pitter Patter Boutique. Check out her shop, her darling creations will make you want to coo! Sarah will win one free 8 x 10 inch print. Congratulations to both of you, and thank you, thank you, thank you to all who left me messages and comments. It had a blast!

I Loved It to Bits! (Update)

Photo credit - © W. S. Hughes 2009

Here I am with students Henrietta Harmon & Deshon Greene (both seniors). Photo credit – © W. S. Hughes 2009

Even though my feet ache, my voice is a bit horse and my eyelids feel heavier than usual, I’m feeling energized and joyful.

I spent the entire day, yesterday, at Columbia High School. The School hours were spent giving art classes (and whoever happened to drop in) a tour of the show that I have mounted in their Domareki Gallery; Bits and Pieces. Then, from 3 to 5 PM I held a reception for anyone who was interested in stopping by.

I was delighted with the amount of people coming. I met a lot of new friends and visited with many old.

One new friend I met for the first time in person was W. Hughes.

W Hughes is the master-mind behind a blog called Perfectly Planned. It’s a great resource for the community here in the Maplewood-South Orange area, and is packed with helpful information for high school students.

W. has written a lovely piece about my show, as well as a follow-up! Check it out!

Holly Goes Brightly!


Who is Holly? Holly Becker run’s the wildly popular, incredibly inspiring and deliciously designed blog — Decor8.

If you haven’t already, you need to check it out. Although I warn you; it’s so jam-packed with smart writing, mouth watering design, interviews, yummy photographs and art that makes me a little green with envy, that you may find you’ve forgotten to pick the kids up and make supper!

I’m pleased as punch that she wrote about me and my new Web site in her blog yesterday! And as always, it brought loads of new friends here to Running With Scissors.

So if you like all things gorgeous, and talented — please stop by Decor8. Go to the Faves page — (it’s my Fave!)

Bits and Pieces in Maplewood

Bubble Thanka (detail) © Nancy Tobin

Bubble Thanka (detail) © Nancy Tobin

I was delighted when Larry McKim asked me to mount a show at the Domareki Gallery at Columbia High School here in Maplewood, N.J. Larry is one of the many incredible art teachers at the school, and we had met at a show we were both in recently at Rupert Ravens Gallery.

I thought this would be a nice opportunity to show the students how an artist’s work can transition and evolve. So the show is set up in a chronological order — showing where I started to where I’m headed!

I’m excited about spending some time with the students there, talking about my work. I’m hoping it will give me a chance to meet a lot of the new talent around the corner.

I’ll be having a closing reception as well. I’m hoping to see a lot of new and familiar faces there!

The gallery is open for all to view on any school day.

Domareki Art Gallery
Columbia High School
Bits and Pieces
February 9 – 27, 2009
17 Parker Avenue,
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Closing reception:
Thursday, February 26, 3-5 PM

A Giveaway to Celebrate My New Website!

Biotic Fizz (detail) ©Nancy Tobin

Biotic Fizz (detail) ©Nancy Tobin

Yeah! It’s a giveaway!

To celebrate the birth of my bouncing baby website, I’m giving away two 8 x 10 inch prints — your choice of image. Here’s how to play: just go visit my new website at and leave me a message, telling me what you think of it. You can leave the comment either on my sites guestbook, or back here at my blog. All the folks who leave comments from now until the end of February will be in a drawing on March 1st for two 8 x 10 prints of your choice!

Good luck. xo Nancy

Show Me The Love and Win a Free Print!


My Etsy print shop is featured in a new venue this month: it’s called Paper n Stitch!

It’s a juried shop, with just a handful-and-a-half of really cute shops. I’m honored and delighted to be included. (Click on the picture above or on the link to the upper right to be taken there.)

Here’s where YOU come in! They are having a competition to see which shop gets the most people clicking on the “favorites” heart. The winner gets a free month’s subscription, and $150 — Yee Haw! If you go and click on my heart* &  leave me a comment saying you did & and I win — I’ll send you a free 8 x 10 print of your choice! Yee Haw-De-Haw-Haw! The more hearts and comments I get, the more free prints I’ll have to give away — it’ll be like Christmas in February!

Thanks for playing!

xo Nancy

*You do have to login into their site to do these things, but trust me, it’s quick, easy and painless!

What a week!

Hush at the Brodsky Center

Hush by Nancy Tobin at the Brodsky Center

This has been such a busy week for me!
Sunday was the opening for the Art Connections 5 show at the George Segal Gallery; Wednesday, I picked up my paintings from the Boson Exotic show at the Rupert Ravens Gallery; and yesterday, I went down to Rutgers University, where I was part of an artists’ talk for the close of the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions annual exhibit. Whew!
I was honored to be chosen to be a fellow at the Brodsky Center last spring and work for two intense weeks with Master Papermaker Anne Q. McKeown and her amazing assistant, Lisa Switalski. Together we created the piece Hush in an edition of 30. The entire piece is made from paper pulp and employs a variety of techniques, including stencils and silkscreen. The whole experience was exhausting and exhilarating.
The opening gave me a chance to see what the other fellows had produced, and it was fun to hear them speak about their experience as well:
The Ramones by

The Ramones Commemorative Plates by Will Work for Good

Will Work for Good is an artist/design group based in the Washington DC metro area. The group consists of two; Kevin O’Neill and Karisa Senavitis. Together with the paper team at Brodsky, they created this edition of 20, titiled The Ramones Commemorative Plates. I think they really captured the spirit of the simple, raw energy of the group. Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee would be proud! (sniff)

Pizza box by Joe Waks

Large Pie with Extra WMD by Joe Waks

Another fellow there last night was Joe Waks. He collaborated with the excessively talented Master Printmaker Randy Hemminghaus. Joe’s low-tech, ironic style came shining though on this delightful edition of 20 pizza boxes. There is plenty for the eye to enjoy on the box, but inside there’s an extra treat — a 3D target-image of that last guy we had as president, complete with a set of 3D glasses!

Expletive 1 by Buzz Spector

Expletive #1 by Buzz Spector

I could go on and on and drop a lot of names of artists who were in the show, like Kiki Smith, Richard Tuttle, and Buzz Spector, but I’ll save that for another day.

Happy weekend!



Koobla custom Munny Doll and handcrafted wooden head dress by Dan Fenelon

The opening for the Art Connections 5 show at the George Segal Gallery last Sunday was great fun.

There was a huge turnout and people seemed in a particularly festive mood.

I thought the name Art Connections was appropriate for me personally at this event; I met several people that I had wanted to meet, linked up with several new friends and reconnected with many I hadn’t seen in a while.

There was great artwork to feast on as well. I like juried shows; you’re introduced to a whole bunch of new artists, and they’re usually well attended (if for no other reason than all the people who have art in the show are there!)

Dan Fenelon AKA Wavedog, had three of his funky and lovable characters at the show. Dan does amazingly colorful, intricate work that seems to draw inspiration from Aboriginal, Native American and Street Art vibes. You can check out his delightful work on his Web site at:


Between the Lines #4 by Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman is an artist that I had been wanting to meet for some time. (One of those people who seems to know all the people you know, but you’ve never met.) She is a master in the art of encaustic. Her beautiful abstract paintings are at once simple and complex. The deceivingly simple looking compositions give way as you explore the depths of the surface; like an archeologists dig — treasures hidden in the layers. The surfaces are luminous, textural and meditative. Check out more of her work at:

There truely is something for everyone in this diverse show, so please stop by!  Click here for hours and directions.

What’s Goin’ On

Surface Sprite

Surface Sprite at the George Segal Gallery

Wake up, America! It’s time to get out of that after-the-holidays gloom. It’s time to party. We’ve got a new president coming in next Tuesday, and there’s cause for celebration.

I’ll be busy, too, celebrating several shows and events. If you’re in the area please stop by — I’d love to see you.

George Segal Gallery
Art Connection 5

Montclair State University
January 15 to February 15, 2009
Opening Reception: January 18, 2-5 PM

Rutgers University
BCIE Annual Exhibition

Dec 17, 2008 – January 23, 2009
33 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ
Closing Reception: Thursday January 22, 3 – 7pm,
Artist Talks 3 – 5pm

Rupert Ravens Contemporary
Boson Exotic

Closes January
Last chance to see this exhibit,
where I have six paintings!

Domareki Art Gallery
Columbia High School
Bits and Pieces

February 9 – 27, 2009
17 Parker Avenue,
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Window Shopping




It’s a holiday tradition; taking the train with the kids into Manhattan to see the Christmas windows at Macy’s.

For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of partaking of this spectacle; it’s a block-long series of windows that follow a storyline or theme, complete with sound; animation; and some sort of participatory factor (like buttons to push).

In the eight years we’ve lived here, we’ve seen some pretty spectacular windows — a few that I thought were particularly good were  “Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Polar Express.”

This year’s windows I found a little strange. The theme was a behind-the-scenes look at how Christmas magic is made; apparently by large, colorful machines cranking out holiday cheer, run by kind-of scary looking gremlins and what looked like the “Fry Kids” from McDonaldland with motorcycle helmets. Although it may not have been the best they’ve done,  it was colorful, animated and interactive! Perhaps a blessing that they weren’t too mesmerizing, considering the temperature was 19 degrees!

But what really made my jaw drop in awe was this window that we walked by on our way to lunch. I felt the trip was worth it after all.


Fresh Starts

Peek II © Nancy Tobin

Peek II © Nancy Tobin

Good bye to 2008.
What a roller-coaster ride it’s been! From the sinking economy to the election-elation.
Here’s to a fresh start. Make it a good one!


Sweetness Follows © Nancy Tobin

Sweetness Follows © Nancy Tobin

The holiday season is one of those times — like vacations — when I spend a lot of my time doing something that isn’t painting. I get antsy when I haven’t been in the studio for a while. The burning desire to create makes me anxious to get back to work.

As difficult as it is to sit still, I’m thankful for these periods of rumination. As many artists are, I tend to be hermit-like and could easily lock myself away in the studio. Being out in the world brings inspiration and opens my eyes to things I need to see.

Right now my head is swimming with ideas for the new year. When I get some quiet time to put the pieces together, I let you know what I have planned!

… And the Winner Is!

andrea-kobayashi snowclose

… Andrea Kobayashi!

There was a lot of excitement building at our house yesterday — mostly between my youngest daughter, Lily, and me.

Nine PM was the time I set for the Frosty Frieze Art Giveaway drawing. The names of all the lovely folks who came and commented on my blog in the past 28 days had been carefully written out on little slips of paper and placed into Lily’s brand-new Hanukkah hat. When the clock struck 9, Lily reached up into the hat that was held high above her head and plucked out the name of Ms. Andrea Kobayashi.

Andrea is an Australian-born artist who’s currently living in Yorii Machi, Saitama, Japan. She sells her beautiful paintings, drawings and prints on Etsy. She has a delightful blog called Dukaduka as well. As a card-carrying member of the “too much is never enough” school of art, I appreciate her ability to tell a story in such a simple and bold way.  Here are a few samples of work she has available in her shop.

Standing Stones by Andrea Kobayashi

Standing Stones by Andrea Kobayashi

Ferdinand (detail) by Andrea Kobayashi

Ferdinand (detail) by Andrea Kobayashi


Not Everybody Gets to be Cute by Andrea Kobayashi

Way-cool birds!

So congratulations to Andrea, and a giant thank you to everyone else who participated! And to all the people celebrating myriad holidays this week — hope yours is blessed with peace and joy!

I’m off to wrap a huge pile of presents and decorate Christmas cookies with my kids.

xo Nancy

Last Chance to Win!

Frosty wants to warm your mantle!

Frosty wants to warm your mantle!

December has zipped by in it’s usual way. I’d love to say that I’m finnished shopping, wrapping, baking and cooking — but I’m not.

But there’s snow on the ground and I’m feeling jolly!

I just wanted to send out a reminder to any of you who haven’t yet left their comment on my blog, This is your last day to do so. The drawing will be held Monday December 22!

For anyone just joining me, here’s a recap:

1. Leave a comment on my blog.

2. Get your name in the drawing for a free original painting.

It’s easy, it’s free to enter — and Mr. Frosty Frieze could be yours to add charm and wit  to your mantle for many winters to come!

My Fifteen Minutes

Flesh Fruit ©2006 Nancy Tobin

Flesh Fruit ©2006 Nancy Tobin

It came and went.

I wouldn’t have even known, except for a nice woman who emailed me to offer her congratulations.

And now it’s over. In the blink of an eye my fame from being featured on the front page of Etsy, has vanished, and I’m left with just the warm glow of knowing that for a brief moment I had the world at my doorstep.

Protean Transporters in Newark!

Vanitas by Gae Savannah / Blackburn's Garden Offering in the foreground

Vanitas by Gae Savannah with A.Kimberlin Blackburn's Garden Offering in the foreground

I went down to Newark today, to stop in to Rupert Ravens Contemporary. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have several pieces in one of the current shows going on there — Boson Exotic. I had forgotten to bring my camera to the opening, and I wanted to take a few installation shots.

It gave me a chance to take a closer look at some of the amazing work being shown there.

The ground floor is mostly taken up by huge assemblages by German Pitre in a show titled Contra Disambiguation. The pieces are made up of stuffed animals that look like they have been dunked, painted, torn, cut apart, and drowning in tar. (I don’t think it is tar, but I’m not sure?) I think they’re meant to challenge our concepts of childhood and innocence — and to make us feel a little uncomfortable. I think they do.

Upstairs is where the Boson Exotic show is taking place. I hadn’t heard of the word “Boson” before Rupert mentioned the show to me, I had to look it up. But here is the curator’s statement: “As protean transporters of invisible force, “Boson Exotic” artworks radiate phenomenological complexity. Each work becomes a saturated moment. The often arcane beauty of the exotic here trumps the arid, banal one liners prevailing in much current contemporary art.
The elusive boson particles are theoretically poised for unveiling in the largest machine ever constructed. Likewise the hard to pin down work in this exhibition, beckons discovery within a 20,000 sq ft phenomenon. In fact, acceleration of assertion posits Newark in a new art vangard.”

It’s nice to know that some people in the art world appreciate the “more is more” school of art!

If you haven’t checked out Rupert Ravens Contemporary yet, get down there before January 18th. My seven paintings are in the best of company with over fifty other artists work. As always, it’s a delight!

Four of my paintings with Vadim Katznelson's Don't be Blue on the right

Four of my paintings, feeling honored to be next to Vadim Katznelson's luscious Don't be Blue

My painting Second Breath has a crush on Sam Stone's intriguing Black Splash Mirror!

My painting Second Breath has a crush on Sam Stone's intriguing Black Splash Mirror!

* This Sunday, December 14th, there will be a panel discussion followed by a holiday party. Click here for more info:

The Songs Inside My Head


I’ve decided that I should include a semi-regular posting about the music that I love.

I have a different relationship with music from many people I know: I don’t listen to music on the radio, I rarely surf environments like iTunes and YouTube, and our house doesn’t even have a music playing device except for in my studio.

But oh, my studio! That’s where I have my beloved Bose-iPod-playing-device. There, I must have music. Music is one of my greatest inspirations. In fact, sometimes I feel like the music has inspired me and propelled my work so much,  I’m practically stealing!

So here’s to the songs (or the albums rather — I really hate chopping up music that was so thoughtfully arranged) that are in my head and my studio these days:

Radiohead. OMG, where have you been all my life? Seriously, that’s how media-stunted I am — I never really heard this exquisite band until recently, when my brother Dave was visiting and introduced me. So for the past few months I’ve been listening to the two CDs I have: In Rainbows and more recently, The Bends. (I’m hoping Santa brings me another!)

In Rainbows is a weird and dreamy CD. It makes me feel like I’m being taken somewhere strange, wonderful, and maybe underwater (?)

I got The Bends later (not as painful as it sounds). I didn’t like it as much at first, but now it’s grown on me and I love it, too. It’s jam-packed with great songs; from the heartbreaking Fake Plastic Trees, to the dreamy (Nice Dream). I don’t think the whole thing comes together in one great-big-beautiful-chunk-of-sound the way that In Rainbows does, but I love it, too.

Check out this video that was done by jthelms on You Tube: All I Need. I found the similarities that this video has with my paintings very interesting! What you think? What songs are in your head these days?

It’s a Series of Tubes!


It feels so good to finish work and be able to post it on my blog. It’s like checking items off my to-do list. So it gives me great pleasure to introduce Sucratic System! It’s a 10-by-10-inch piece executed in acrylic and painted paper on a 2-inch-deep, cradeled panel. I worked on this piece for a very long time — in fact, I’m not quite sure what lies on the very first layer — so it’s very thick with layers and jam-packed with visual goodness!

I thought the final layering of purple looked like melted sugar when it’s pulled, or some sort of organic system of veins or nerves … I like how the purple draws you in — hopefully you’ll stay for a while!

Sucratic System ©2008 Nancy Tobin

Sucratic System ©2008 Nancy Tobin

Don’t Forget – Original Art Giveaway!

frosty-friezeDon’t forget to sign up for the free art giveaway! You have until December 22 to leave me a comment, and you’ll be automatically added to the drawing for this original painting. See more details here!

A Duet Aquatic

I just finished a few more “smalls” that I will post in my Etsy shop this morning.

Starting out,  I hadn’t intended to make them feel so related, but they ended up looking like siblings! I love how the two relate with each other — so I’ll be offering a discount if they are purchased together. Please check them out, and let me know what you think!

Stirring ©2008 Nancy Tobin

Stirring ©2008 Nancy Tobin

Quiet ©2008 Nancy Tobin

Quiet ©2008 Nancy Tobin

Good Things


My mother use to say that it was never to late to say “thank you”. Since I missed doing this on the big official Thanking Day, I decided to go ahead and give a few excerpts from my very, very long list of things that bring me gratitude:


• Sharing holidays with the people I love

• Having the world’s cutest squirrels living in our backyard (I know, I know, everybody thinks their squirrels are the cutest)

• Having too much food on Thanksgiving, when many people don’t have enough

• All the new people I’ve met from all over the world through my new blog and through  my Etsy shop

• Feeling hopeful for my country — a feeling I hadn’t had in quite some time

• Having time to paint, even when the days get crazy busy

• Spending a rainy and cold Saturday making gift tags with my family – Quack?


I guess I’m “It”

I was tagged the other day, by Tilly who has a lovely blog called Showing Up for the Muse.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules
3. Tell 6 quirky but boring, unspectacular details about yourself
4. Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them
5. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

I’m flattered to have been chosen by you Tilly!  Thank you.

Six quirky, boring and unspectacular details about myself:

1. I eat toast with peanut butter and jelly almost every day for breakfast.

2. I’m the youngest of seven children.

3. I live in a house with a dog, a cat, a guinea pig, a hamster, four rats and a sun conure named Bozie.

4. I hate housework.

5. I love crossword puzzles and sudoku.

6. I had three aunts that became nuns, and three uncles that became priests. And still, I turned out like this!

* The best thing about this game for me, was discovering all sorts of great blogs out there. Here are the ones I choose for the game. Check them out!


Paper and Planes

Out of Character

Feeling Inspired

Quite the Crow


Treats to Warm Your Heart (Art Giveaway!)

There’s been so much activity around my studio this last week, I don’t know where to start!

How about with FREE ART? On Dec. 22, I’ll pick a name at random to win this darling painting titled “Frosty Frieze.” It’s a 6-x-6-inch painting that combines acrylic and painted paper into layer after layer of wonderment and joy! How cute would this be warming on your mantle for years to come?

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on my blog asking to join my mailing list. Write me quick, and bonne chance!

Frosty Frieze could be yours!  ©Tobin

Frosty Frieze could be yours! ©Tobin

Next, how about The Biggest Sale in this Gosh-Darned Century?

Okay, maybe not the biggest sale, but boy, this is pretty big. It’s my first-ever Etsy Black Friday thru Cyber Monday sale! Forget the malls … Do your shopping in your pajamas … The best deals are here:

• Buy your first print, and get the second one (of equal or lesser value) FREE.

• $10 off any original artwork.

• Free shipping throught the US and Canada. (Reduced prices for the rest of the planet.) From now until the end of December!

The shop is bursting with great art — I’ve recently added over 20 new items. So stop by, relax, and enjoy saving money while sipping your morning coffee.


Small, Medium and Large


Lest I forget… the big stuff.

And the medium stuff, and all the paintings that I toil over daily that are not “small.”

I’ve kind of been in a “Santa’s workshop” mode lately, trying to get all these smalls finished for the holidays. So, as I finish the little buggers off and clear some space in my studio and in my head, my attention turns to my old familiar friends.

Right now I have about 20 paintings that are in various sizes and various stages of completeness. If you know me, you know that’s how I work: lots of stuff going at once. I like to let things simmer and settle while working on something else. Twenty is a lot, though. I better get back to the studio!

Tonight I’m posting a new small painting on my Etsy shop. This one goes out to all you guys out there… it’s a rock and roll kind of painting, it’s call Little Bone Machine. Check it out!

Under the Sea

It was a wet & watery weekend. My beloved family and I took the train into New York on Saturday afternoon to go see a much anticipated Little Mermaid. It rained. No, I take that back. … It poured. Not the whole time, mind you, just for the time it took us to walk from Nintendo World to the theater. Of course, the whole of New York was out, rushing to get to their respective theaters as well. All with pointy, dripping umbrellas.

We were happy to get to our show and felt right at home with Ariel under the water. Disney did its usual magic on each of us, and we were transformed into people who weren’t nearly as grumpy as we were a half-hour before.

Water is a theme for me in my work lately, too. Going back eight or nine years, you can spot the bubbles coming to the surface in my paintings. But I feel my work is going deeper and deeper into someplace deep underwater. Maybe I’m drawn to the quiet stillness.

Down Here I  ©2008Tobin

Down Here I ©2008Tobin

This little 5 x 5 Inch painting titled Down Here I was posted just this morning on my Etsy Shop. I think this one looks more like a lake that an ocean or a sea. What do you think?


I just posted a new “small” in my Etsy Shop. It’s titled Bangkok Sunset. It’s a dreamy piece that makes you long for travel and spicy food –- but you’ll have to go to my Etsy shop to see it!

There will be new works added often, so keep visiting. I’m posting them as I finish them.

On another note: My sister Sue (who for any of you who have taken a look at the comments is the ONLY person who has made any comments so far — hint, hint!) informed me yesterday that the term “small” has a different meaning in England. Turns out it means underwear.



Mama’s Got a Brand-New Shop

It’s an Itsy Bitsy Etsy Shop!


I’m so excited about my new store on Etsy. If you’ve never gone to Etsy before, you’ve got to check it out! It’s all handmade goods, and there is a lot of stuff that’s real good!

I had been looking for an outlet to sell my lower-priced items and giclée prints, and this is the spot for me.

Waiting Pool

Waiting Pool

Come and check out all the great stuff I have for sale right now:

  • Small Works
  • Giclée Prints
  • Holiday Cards
  • Original Art at Amazing Prices!


Getting Small

Stardance I © Tobin

Stardance I © Tobin

I’ve been disciplining myself lately to work faster, on small studies that experiment with new techniques. Normally, my work is so labor-intensive and takes so long to complete that I thought these “smalls” would let me grow as an artist.

Well, the really cool surprise for me has been how much fun I’ve been having with these little guys! I find they’re great to to try out stuff that would normally take too long on a much bigger piece, and I can work so fast! So they really have been helpful in my larger work, too. Yeah!

And they also give me a chance to sell some work at a lower price. I can take year on a big piece, so I have to charge accordingly … But I figured these little studies could sell much more cheaply.

My Little Ones en proceso

My Little Ones incubating

When I set out on this project, the idea was to keep the cost for each little cutie under a hundred bucks. Now, I must say I ended up doing my usual obsessing over them (which I wasn’t supposed to do), so I spent way more time on them than originally planned. But … I’m going to stick with the price plan (for the holidays at least.) If you follow my work, you know THIS IS A DANG GOOD DEAL!!! Not to mention, free shipping for the holidays in the continental US. (Lordy, lordy, what will that girl do next?)

So hop, skip  or just click the link over there on the right to my Etsy shop to start gettin’ those deals!

Twilight, Twilight, Pretty Pretty Twilight

Twilight ©2006

Twilight ©2006

I started to get suspicious. I had a few nice young ladies e-mail me, asking me if I would mind if they used a painting of mine in a post on their blogs.

“Of course not!” My goodness, any exposure is good exposure. It did happened to be the same painting, however: Twilight. Well, I think it’s a pretty painting, so I didn’t think too much of it … until later, when I overheard my daughter talking about all the girls at school who just love the book Twilight, and how they’re making it into a movie, and so on …

The little hamster wheel in my head started turning, and I realized that these savvy, tech-weaned women were using my artwork as a lure to gain access to the coveted top of the search-engine page!

Not one to let the youth of today outdo me, I too will shamelessly use my own innocent artwork, Twilight, to promote my own innocent art Twilight. And in case all those in the ether world didn’t hear about it, there will be another Twilight announcement later this evening.

Salt & Pepper Shaker of the Week #1

Mmmmmm… Pocky!

Mmmmmm… Pocky!

If You’re Happy ’cause You Voted …


Clap Your Hands!

Then give yourself a big pat on the back.

All Thumbs

At our house, Halloween is right up there with the major holidays. And if you ask my daughter Sadie, she’ll tell you that it tops the list.

This year we got a little sidetracked from our usual going-nuts, trying to out-do our yard from last year. I had a last-minute show to get ready for, and Matthew was busier as well.

Sadie as Rorschach
Sadie as Rorschach

We did spend our usual amount of energy on the kids’ costumes, however. They always manage to come up with these fantastic ideas that I think sound like fun to make during times of full nights’ rest. You’d think I’d learn. Sadie decided to be Rorschach, a kind of dark superhero from the graphic novel “Watchmen,” and Lily chose to be a cupcake. Oh, and she chose for her friend to be one too!

Every year I think I’ll have the costumes done early, or at least on time. Every year I think I’m going to have a more relaxed day. And every year I end up running around with three hours of sleep and bandages on both my thumbs. Will I remember this next year? I doubt it.

One thing I may remember though. … It’s really hard to take a quick snapshot of both your thumbs at once if you’re by yourself! ;-)

Ali & Lily as Cupcakes (Mmmmm) © Jamie Ross

Flurries in the Skies and on the Ground

I couldn’t believe it when I saw big blobs of wet snow clumps falling to the earth today. It’s only October, for God’s sake!

Just as the squirrels seem to have multiplied as they scurry about my yard, so goes the art world in October. Everyone’s all fat and rested from their long summer’s nap; they’ve stretched and wiped the sleep from their little eyes, and they’re ready to do what Mother Nature calls them to do at this time of year: put on art shows; sell art (or try to!); buy art; photograph art; write about art; put on more art shows; talk about art; have some art “events” and “happenings” for good measure; and generally make the squirrels look like a bunch of layabouts!

Mine is not to question the nature or the cycle of such events but frantically to scurry, readying artwork for these fine shows; alerting good citizens to the events; and mentioning that if they get there early enough there may be cheese and crackers (& wine, if they’re really lucky.)

Here is a list of events that I am involved in:

Boson Exotic
Rupert Ravens Contemporary
Group Exhibition
October 24 – January 18, 2009
Wednesday – Saturday 11AM – 6PM
85 Market Street, Newark, NJ, 07102

Open Studio This Weekend
Viridian Print Studio @ Riker Hill Art Park
Saturday, November 1st & Sunday November 2nd
All studios will be open from 11AM – 5PM
(I will be at the studio on Saturday from 2 – 5)

Oiseau  ©2007 Tobin  23" x 18"  Painted paper collage
Oiseau ©2007 Tobin 23″x 18″

Bridging the Space Between
Montclair Public Library
Opening Reception November 6th, 6–9PM,
Artists Panel Discussion – 7PM

November 1 – to November 30th
50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042

Art Connections 5
George Segal Gallery @ Montclair State Univiersity
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ   07043
Opening Reception 2–6PM,  January 18, 2009
Gallery Hours:
T, W, F, Sat. 10 AM – 5 PM, Thurs. 12:30 PM – 7:30 PM

The Last Scissor Pun?

No Better Place<br>2008 30 x 24  Acrylic and paper on panel<br>

No Better Place2008 30 x 24 Acrylic and paper on panel

Amidst the flurry of fall art openings, I try to remember the lesson my mother taught me: “Always hold the sharp end of the scissors while running!” Well, I don’t think she actually said running. But that’s what I’ve been doing since Rupert, of Rupert Ravens Contemporary, invited me to be in his show Boson Exotic, kicking off the gallery’s second season of bringing world-class, spanking-fresh art right to our doorsteps in downtown Newark. The opening was the usual bustle of fun and interesting folks; incredible art; and of course the signature nightcap to the evening’s events: Newark High School’s Approaching Storm Drum Band!

So, if you’re in the neighborhood, I hope you’ll stop by, and if you’re not … I think it’s worth the special trip. I did manage to deliver six new paintings, without too many cuts or scrapes. Mom would be proud.

You can also check out some of my new work that I’ve posted on the “New Work” tab at the top of the navigation bar, where I’ll be posting stuff as I get It finished!

My Brand New Web Site!

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All photos, text and artwork copyright Nancy Tobin. All rights reserved. Feel free to link to this site. Thank you.


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