Tagged boxes and dots

DRTBox Revisited, Reimagined, Recycled

DRTBox collects cell data from 1000s of phones

In 2017 NPR reported on DirtBox, a gizmo that collects data from thousands of cell phones at a time. It costs $100K, and is used by law enforcement and military.

Hackernews confirmed: DRTBox is a military surveillance technology that has capabilities of both Stingray as well as Dirtbox, allowing the police to track, intercept thousands of cellphone calls and quietly eavesdrop on conversations, emails, and text messages.  

DRTBox inspires anger & an art project

I was at once angered and inspired, and I blogged about it. I was mad. Really mad. And then inspired. I envisioned a 10-foot-by-10-foot installation made up of various sizes of canvas covered with a design of tiny boxes and dots. The boxes were to be the cell phones, and the dots were to be the data being collected. I imagined that I could pour all of my anger, frustration, and fear into these canvases, that people might get excited about the effect this gizmo would have on society, and — and …. I wasn’t sure what would come after that.


DRTbox blank
DrtBox blank: Sample of the pencil drawing that was done on 10 square feet of canvas.
DRTbox in progress
DrtBox in progress. Painting inside the lines with tiny paintbrushes.
DrtBox Juxto
DrtBox Juxto: A canvas board glued to a canvas.


DRTBox anger recedes, recycling begins

Breathing deeply, I recognized that I have limited capacity for high-decibel anger. (There is too much to be upset about for single-subject high-velocity fretting.)

With my anger receding, I could focus on recycling. I covered some of the penciled and painted canvases with white gesso as a base for new projects.

One canvas retained its dots and serves as the background for Belinda the Beaded Elephant. Standing on a field of little boxes, she absorbed all of my anger and most of the active-keeps-me-up-at-night the concern about privacy, spying, and personal space. She is the CEO and Principal Advocate for “Free the Fones,” an international non-profit working on a long list of privacy, internet, and e-commerce issues. Please reply to her appeals for money, time, and fresh vegetables. She eats 15 pounds of every day.

DRTBox Recycled into a White Elephant
DrtBox Recycled: Belinda the Beaded Elephant, CEO and Principal Advocate for “Free the Phones”

Connections coloring book: tiny spaces

Since 2006, I have celebrated connections within the tiny spaces in paintings called nanoscapes. My friends and fans have been after me for years to make coloring books, and as with so many things, I’ve realized that resistance is futile. Now all I need is a printer who can create a book at a price that my pals can afford. Suggestions? Use the contact form at the end of this post.

Celebrating connections with painstaking exuberance

Almost by accident, I created a consistent body of abstract work that reflects my interest in connections among and between people, their neighborhoods, and their cities: true nanoscapes. I use painstaking exuberance, a four or five-step process, to make each one. I begin with a pencil drawing, continue with a Davy’s Gray watercolor outline, then paint between the lines, and outline each shape with paint or Micron pen. Sometimes the fifth step includes a paint or ink outline of the complete piece. I love and celebrate every single step.

2007 Kaleidoscope 1: early connections
2007 Kaleidoscope 1: early connections

My earliest watercolor paintings were all about tiny spaces, complex designs, and bright colors, and were reflected in the business name: nanoscapes & other visions llc.  The first paintings (8×10 inches or smaller) were shown at the now-closed Rosalie Wahl Library in Stillwater. It was a very tiny library, and the very tiny nanoscapes looked great on the walls.

Some of you know the story. No sooner than I had acquired the business name, and other pieces of a corporate entity, than one of my pals said “Honey, I love your work, but I can’t put a postcard behind my sofa.” Although they maintained their tiny designs in small spaces, the nanoscapes got bigger (16×20, 22×33). In 2009, whimsical creatures arrived and took over the studio, and integrated some nanoscapes’ designs into their bodies. I am returning happily to true nanoscapes, and most of the coloring (or painting) pages are inspired by paintings I’ve done or plan to do soon.

Pages coming in tandem with the First Unitarian Society “Connections” show

On December 30, 2015, I will hang a show that is focused on “Connections” at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis‘ elegant space on Mt. Curve. It is an honor to be there, and I am inspired to collect and showcase paintings from the underlying and unifying theme of so much of my work: connections. The show will be a combination of old and new connections-themed pieces with a handful of creature paintings that incorporate abstract images and link my old, new, and forthcoming work.

Some samples as work-in-progress:

Boxes Coloring Page WIP: a city? neighborhoods? connections all!
Boxes Coloring Page WIP: a city? neighborhoods? connections all!




Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you're lucky CP#2. All about connections.
Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky. CP#2 All about connections.
Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you're lucky. CP #1. All about connections.
Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky. CP #1 All about connections.


Mr. Klimt the First: Inspired by Conversations Connections
Mr. Klimt the First: Inspired by Conversations Connections.
Painted Knitted Metal 1: Honors my artist friends Carolyn Halliday & Karen Searle who knit with wire. An astonishing act of connection.
Painted Knitted Metal 1 Honors my artist friends Carolyn Halliday & Karen Searle who knit with wire. An astonishing act of connection.


Island Fortress: mash-up and connections
Island Fortress: mash-up and connections


I hope to see you at the show. Watch this space, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms for information about the show’s reception.  Also, I promise to create a genuine artist newsletter in 2016.





Boxes Dots and Bridges

Boxes Dots and Bridges

Some time before the Fractured Glass Marathon, I painted a new member of the Bright Box Family, which I’m calling “Boxes Dots and Bridges.”  Were this just for people familiar with the Twin Cities, I’d have called it “Boxes, Dots and Skyways.”

Two nanoscapes accepted into Altered Aesthetics’ “Straight Trippin'”

Two nanoscapes, Fractured Glass 3 and All the Colors and Paths #1, were juried into Altered Aesthetics‘ 2013 “Straight Trippin‘” Exhibition which will run from February 28 to March 28, 2013 at the gallery which is in the Q’arma Building at 1224 Quincy Street NW, Minneapolis, MN 55413 in the Northeast Minneapolis Artist District. 

Wild Triangles

Fractured Glass 3 is part of a series of watercolor paintings that answers the creative question “What happens when triangles go wild?”

I make these with my five-part Painstaking Exuberance process: (1) make a pencil drawing, (2) outline each shape with Winsor & Newton Davy’s Gray, (3) paint inside the lines, (4) paint an outline for each triangle with a contrasting watercolor, and (5) paint a border for the entire piece. The paintings don’t really come to life until I paint the outlines for each tiny triangle.

I have also used the triangles in a some of the whimsical creatures (small friends) in the Stained Glass Family, which includes Sarah Stained Glass Cat, The Stained Glass Elephant, Hernando Stained Glass Hippo,  Amelia Tall Glazed Window Cat, a Green Stained Glass Camel, and one of  the 7 Hippos Marching.

wp 2014
Fractured Glass 3 (22×33) Framed  $800 SOLD.

Bright Boxes

All the Colors and Paths is part of a series loosely called Bright Boxes which celebrate the depth of color achievable with watercolor while challenging space and perspective. I like to think that I am painting in two-and-a-half dimensions. Most (including this one) were painted on 300# paper which is like painting on felt or a very welcoming sponge.

All the Colors and Paths #1 (13×23) $350
Altered Aesthetics Gallery is at 1224 Quincy Street NW, Minneapolis, MN 55413 in the Q’arma Building in Minneapolis’ Northeast Minneapolis Artist District.

Round Boxes Dots named finalist in “Abstraction” Competition

Round Boxes Dots was selected as a finalist from 940 images by the Jurors for Exhibitions Without Walls For Photographers and Digital ArtistsABSTRACTIONS competition.  Submissions came from 197 photographers and digital artists from 35 states and 15 countries.
The ABSTRACTIONS show link will be live from April 21 to May 31, 2012.
Round Boxes Dots was the March 17, 2012 image in my 2012-Image-a-Day Project.

Find a button and a magnet with this design in my zazzle store.

Boxes-in-progress 1/2010

January 2010.
Follow the newest nanoscape, City Map 2010, from start to finish.  I painted for just under a week. This is 15×23 inches of Arches 300# hot press paper.  I drew all of the lines and circles in pencil, painted over all of the lines in Davy’s Gray, and began to add color. People are often puzzled about what they see as a duplicative step of pencil and gray paint.  The painting step does two things that take me back to a very pleasant part of childhood: coloring books.  It allows me to change and then set the design, and then I have the lines to color inside. It leave me free to think about the color and the patterns that come from the colors.
Note from 2014: This painting ended up with the name “Boxes and Dots.”