Beyond Mental Gridlock

Today, there will be no universal dis-embodied voice charting my course or suggesting my re-calculation. No i-pads, no computer stylus set for digital drawing. I’ll be brainstorming much of the day and I’ve packed lightly. Supplies for the trip: coffee, sketch paper and a graphite pencil (No 2). You laugh, ‘What could you possibly discover with such elementary tools; the flesh of trees, carbon sticks from the dust of stars?’  I’m telling you, there are universes still to discover in that simple stuff — vast spaces a mind can go–beyond charts, webs and words and this electric global campfire.

CSArt 2013 – BMoCA and DBG

I have been invited by Director of Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) David Dadone, and Director of Exhibitions, Art & Interpretation at Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG), Lisa M. W. Eldred, to participate as one of eighteen artists for their CSArt 2013 project.  The project initiative engages artists presently working in Colorado with collectors by introducing them though a unique shares/collective model.  Invited artists are given a honorarium to create small works to be curated into collections.  Artists also receive work from other participating artists in this program. Thus, the community of artists and collectors support one another,  whet appetites to collect more work and establish relationships for the long term.  The first art distribution event was held May 16 at the DBG on the west terrace. Brian Vogt, CEO of the DBG, spoke about the institutions enthusiastic support of CSArt, followed by David Dadone, who graciously thanked everyone for their participation. I was introduced to speak next and rendered my experiences with CSArt by citing what participation in the project engendered in me; about the artists’ need for supportive and challenging community.  I referenced the nature of a community of artists that first put the United States on the Art World map and the continued need for community and collaboration vs  competition as the life blood of creative work for artists.  Colleague and painter Teresa Booth Brown followed with important words about the project helping ‘good work’ to get out of the studio and into the world for others to engage it. My work will be available to collectors who have bought shares this August at BMoCA.  One of the fifty nine works will be on exhibit to the general public at the DBG From mid-August through October, 2013. Check back for details.

For more information about CSArt 2013 @ BMoCA, please visit :   and or via the DBG website :

Another In A New Series

“Tandem Wakes”, 48″ ×  72″ × 2″, acrylic and metal pigments on canvas, 2012.

Okay, here’s a sneak-peek into the studio today. This diptych is one of several moderately large pieces I’ve been working on. The fracturing, floating, fogging imagery has my head going to places that spawn new ideas before I’ve even finished the piece in front of me.

Searching For A Name For This Painting

I’ve been considering a number of titles for this work and have decided to put it to the public for inspiration.  Any and all suggestions will be considered. Please submit your ideas in the comments section below. Click to enlarge image.

Thank you for stopping by.

—Margaret Pettee Olsen

60″ × 56″ × 2″, Acrylic and reflective pigment on canvas, 2012

New Works In Progress

“Open Source”, 54″ × 42″ × 2″, Acrylic and reflective pigment on canvas, 2012

On top of a number of projects on the horizon and new engagements, several larger-sized canvases are in the works. I’m very excited about the evolution of these new pieces. Stay tuned to hear about the next show, as well as ‘meet-ups with the artist.’ Plus, I will be spending quite a bit more time on my blog this coming year, posting exciting news and continued sneak peeks of my work, and more. In the mean time, please add me to your RSS newsfeed—it’s simple, it’s easy, and you don’t even have to think about it to keep on top of what’s happening.

—Margaret Pettee Olsen

Happy Birthday James Rosenquist

Brandeis National Women's Committee Serigraph by James Rosenquist

This is a print I pulled with James Rosenquist in 1988. The limited edition serigraph was for Brandeis University National Women’s Committee. I had just moved to Manhattan and was pleased to have been introduced to adjoining print shops where I worked printing and assisting a variety of artists. Rosenquist was one. Happy Birthday James Rosenquist!

Several New Directions

I’ve been working in several directions lately. This large detail from a recent piece represents one. My use of reflective and interference pigments is employed to address concerns of ‘worlds within worlds,’ occlusions, modifying purchase and perspectives. However, some of these images are making their way into new media, and with that shift, another sort of emphasis on these concerns is being made. I will post more on these exciting developments as they happen. (Please click the image below for a larger version.)

Thank you for taking the time to look at this work in progress.

—Margaret Pettee Olsen

“Chaucer’s ‘Madonna'” Goes To Auction In New York For Housing Works

When designer and RISD colleague Patrick J. Hamilton requested art works to be offered for his vignette for Design on a Dime’s Housing Works Benefit Auction, which assists in housing people with HIV/AIDS in New York City, I was compelled to create a unique work of art. The piece (below) will be installed at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea 125 W 18th Street (between Avenue of The Americas & 7th Ave), in New York City, (April 26–28th).

When Patrick described the color and character of his possible installation, I began thinking of saturated crimsons, magnanimous magentas, hot and fleshy pinks, siennas, creams, controlled dove greys and misty charcoals—colors which ’til now I’d rarely used, at least in such quantities, and I became excited by the possibilities for the project. I had also read an article Mr. Hamilton had recently written about performer Madonna’s impact on him personally, for the LGBT community, and for an entire generation. Always up for a challenge, I began work on what would become the start of a new series: Chaucer’s ‘Madonna,’ Lady of Bath.

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Lady of Bath character is arguably among the most interesting; provocative, a probable vocal reformer of her time and challenger of social mores, she represents what a few performing women artists today represent in our culture. So as I read about the ‘gap-toothed,’ outspoken medieval game-changer, her robes, ways and words challenging the complacency, stigmas, and social phobias of her time, I began to think more and more of the role such women artists play in today’s world.  What do their circumstances prevent and/or provide?  How can their art help heal and bring our culture’s murky shadows to titillating light?  How can I, “express myself”?

Wife of Bath series, “Chaucer’s ‘Madonna,’” 48” x 24” x ¾”, Acrylic and reflective pigment on canvas, 2012

New Painting Goes To NYC Auction For Housing Works

Details from the work: