Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pretty Dirty Words Logo

At last is the final logo for Paper Doll Pin Ups, Pretty Dirty Words. I don't think I'll need to explain the double meaning - and MAN I can't wait for the content to be loaded and up for sale.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Naughty Girl Journal

This piece is almost finished. A commission for Paper Doll Pin Ups, via a special order for Monica Loren, this journal is a prototype of more to come. Can be used as a scrapbook, personal or punishment journal or diary of all your naughtiest (or not) thoughts, pictures, musings and otherwise. Each of these journals can be customized for the user on the cover and inside cover, where we dedicate the piece to the end user by including their name and even a "from your...."

Price has yet to be estimated, but you can bet your stinging fanny it'll reflect the hours and love given to each and every detail.

Fun, fun, fun! Photo shoot to follow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Creative Silence

Hello friends. I have nothing to show you this week. But I have been doing a lot of inner work. I think this is good! And very different for me.

I just now led myself to a few quotes from Arvo Part - this amazing contemporary composer I am deeply enchanted with.

I am working on being a better listener these days. I want to be God's prism. I want a little quiet, for a little while and to feel the wisdom of a moment of nothingness.

Here are 4 Arvo Part quotes that move me:

"I could compare my music to white light which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener."

"I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me."

"Silence is the pause in me when I am near to God."

"The human voice is the most perfect instrument of all."

I first heard his music in the soundtrack of There Will Be Blood. Shortly after, I bought much of his work and dove right in and really let myself sink into it. Check out his Variations For The Healing Of Arinushka, For Piano. You'll get it.

And here's one last tidbit I found while surfing:

"Arvo Pärt’s contribution to the future of sacred music is wonderfully summed up on the Vale of Glamorgan’s website:

“Possibly the world’s most celebrated living composer, Arvo Pärt is at the centre of the movement which has become known as New Spirituality—a musical philosophy which, for Pärt at least, came out of a long period of creative silence and introspection, and emerged from under the aggressively secular cloud of the Soviet state. This is a pared-down, purified music, which delights in a halo of bell-like sonorities surrounding perfect single notes; and yet this simplicity sustains some of the most hauntingly beautiful and profoundly moving pieces.”"

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Fun we had with FLORA.

Check out the fun we all had at the FLORA exhibit featuring works by Karen Divine, Drew Watts, Lucha Lucha Rodriguez Art and myself at KAI LIN ART last Friday. Michael Cooke snapped some fun and flirty photos for us. Photos by Mike Cooke

Check out this article, too by Project Q Atlanta and a cute snap by Omar Vega of the awesome chaste kiss I got from Yu-Kai :).

Friday, April 15, 2011


This is FLOAT of the Flora series. A tiny 6 x 8 painting packed with this story.

Something happens to us when we are in water. We're in a material that we're made mostly of. We become light and suddenly graceful. We swim. We float. We sink if we want to.

We change in water.

Years ago when I first began my training as a painter out in Cleveland Ohio, I started taking baths. It became a ritual for me. Time for myself to wind down, do nothing, feel weightless. And shit - you KNOW it was cold there. So soaking for a long time made sense.

Sometimes I'd light a candle and bring my boom box with me. Opera was what I loved listening to the most. All I had was Puccini. And that suited me just fine. Then I started bringing my sketchbook with me. So I'd sketch and journal.

Then one day I looked down. Wow - these shapes are beautiful. My legs, my torso, my chest, toes - everything seemed to peak out of the surface of the water. My knees became mountains, my navel a black hole, and the clever distortion of my body as it submitted to what water does best in the bathtub - provide a different lens to view yourself. Moving water making visual waves of how I was made fascinated me.

So I picked up the pencil and looked down and drew. And drew. And drew. That is how Flora really started. Way back in 1986 in blustery wet and dreary Cleveland Ohio. The shapes of my body became my entrance to the world of metaphor and abstraction.

I'll look through those sketchbooks and post some of those drawings soon. I love sharing this with you all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have learned to laugh more. So has Flora. When we laugh, our whole body changes. We get flushed. We warm up. Our core feels lighter, we feel the vibrations of every chuckle throughout every cell in our body. Those vibrations can be global, too. Seeing others laugh makes me respond in kind - or at least want to.

The "speech bubbles" you see are hiccoughs of laughter moving across the surface of Flora's body, as well as inside of her. She is smiling. Her teeth are like little gems of candy - sweet and cheery.

Flora's laughter fills her with joy. She is ready and open for the next wave to hit her, flow through her.

Laughter is enough and needs no explanation, no grounding, no sense of purpose other than it happening. Laughter heals, like a cat purring to speed up its own healing processes. We laugh to bond us to each other, we laugh to heal.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Statement About Flora

Statement about FLORA

Creating the pieces for Flora brought me to a more intimate understanding of my feminine self. Having long rejected feminine themes as creative subject matter meant I had also rejected those characteristics in myself.

Personifying Flora gave me permission to explore themes deemed taboo, cliché and untouchable by most of my creative peers while in art school.

I used her to heal that loss and as a vehicle to claim once again my birth as a female, from infant, to girl, sister and daughter to woman, partner and mother.

I used her to heal that loss and as a vehicle to claim once again my birth as a female, from infant, to girl, sister and daughter to woman, partner and mother.

Anne Elser 2011 Artist Bio

Anne-Davnes Elser began her education at the Cleveland Institute of Art, graduating in 1991 with a BFA in painting and ceramics. In 1997, after returning to Atlanta to study Graphic Design at The Portfolio Center, she began a long teaching career in Graphic Design, Calligraphy, Book Arts and Painting. Her classes range from graduate level classes to adult continuing education at the Kai Lin Art Gallery and Binders Art Supply in Buckhead. Anne also offers private lessons and weekend workshops in all of these areas.

Her latest teaching venture is a collaboration with artist, Performance Coach, and Emotionally Intuitive Facilitator, Debra Armentrout. Their intention is to provide intensive creative workshops for artists of all levels who are interested in going deeper, and unearthing inherent, unique, gifts and abilities, and subconscious subject matter. This lush depth is then made available, usable, to enrich the content of their creative work, as well as their lives.

Artist, designer, calligrapher and educator in the fields she loves, Anne's award-winning work has been featured in design annuals, calligraphy publications, books and in magazines.

Wife to Douglas, mother to Anton, mentor and friend to her students, Anne is not shy about sharing her creative content and process with others. All creative work has a story and gives voice to the important work of knowing self.

Anne Elser 2011 Artist Statement

I see our universe as a living, breathing organism, rich with color, passion, grace and infinite goodness. Believing our worlds reflect everything about us, I use symbol and metaphor while creating in fullness and in love.

The process of making art is opening to the idea of becoming an open channel for the neutral truth, and being an active participant in the deconstruction of our subconscious prejudices. Art is a snapshot of this process and a soulful reflection of the connections shared by all.


Somewhere in my memories of growing up I decided it was easier to deny my feminine side and remain in shame, rather than embrace my innate power as a female to create life from the simple ability to be alluring. Creating pieces for Flora has helped me heal a great deal of that shame, where my sexuality can remain less in shadow and celebrated more.

Flora here is wearing a blue dress with scalloped edging. Her underwear is pristine white cotton and she's lifting her dress to show you a little skin, a little lingerie (pretty pumpkin colored silk slip) and the depth in between her legs.

Her desire is as big as the horizontal view of the landscape her body suggests. Limitless blue sky with creamy subtle formations of clouds just beginning, a few crops planted to the left suggest some organization on her part - just how much to reveal to you herself and in what order to the layers begin to peel.

She is having a great amount of fun here, teasing you with her performance.

Flora can feel you watching her.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This is Virgin, part of the smallest set of paintings I did for FLORA at the Kai Lin Art gallery in Midtown.

She approaches every experience as a new one, and possesses the gift of being a beginner. Her expectations are created within each moment and are enough to keep her fully in them, rather than from a results-driven perspective.

She wears an ermine coat edged with hand-made lace. She is reborn in every single moment. She is egoless and just now beginning to come into color.

Her pages are empty and fresh and clean and white. She is on the verge of filling them with all her thoughts and drawings, yet recording everything isn't as important to her as experiencing the moment. Filling takes time to separate from the moment and to assume a judgement.

She is so at peace, she has no idea others see her as enlightened. Classification doesn't matter to her.

She simply IS.

Friday, April 08, 2011


And this is GARDEN.

My Dad has a green thumb and I think I got some of his gift. I really hate getting dirty, but love the feel of dirt in my hands as I garden. Holding a plant in my palms and decorating the ground or a pot with texture, height and color is really very fun. And calming. I always feel centered after planting things.

So the calligraphic elements you see on my envelopes have resurfaced in many different ways. Swirls and swoops and flourishes and cusps are all the same really - they arrive in different media, they are god speaking to us in the very language we each know intuitively.

This is my garden, and I am that plant. I am those seeds that wait patiently for their turn, who negotiate their arrival above ground with every change of season. I am that patient seed who comes too early and decides to wait for another turn to come back. I am that tree whose root system gets bigger in the winter while at the surface is as quiet as a whisper. I creak in the bleak wind and ache to show the fruit of my efforts to someone who will notice my hard work.

I listen. Wait. Emerge and reach towards light.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

One Moment

This is my most layered Flora painting called One Moment.

In one single moment there is layer upon layer of detailed memories, emotions, present and past, within each person and their body, within a conversation between you and your higher self, between your past and present, between you and the person sitting next to you, the mail carrier down the street, the elements around you, all of your senses, your dreams, the things your body remembers and holds onto... all of it - ALL of these things have a greater purpose and it is their destiny to collide. That is friction, that is action and we can barely manage to wrap our heads around one single element. Our worlds are so vast and complex and we see only what we are meant to see and understand.

The painting is a snapshot of the layers I feel I CAN see. That is it's gift. To reveal to us commonalities and metaphors that help reveal us to ourselves. And I cannot tell you much more than that. I see One Moment as bursting with sunlight, as awakening, as a mixture of so many elements I love about my own femininity - needlework, lips, kissing, flowers, tatted lace, hooks and fasteners, motherhood, childhood, scalloped edges, mouths and teeth, fine fingers, spring pink, blushes, freckles, lingerie, lipstick, smiles.

The one moment began as my earliest memory - reaching for light and the colorful burst of pretty flowers, calling what it did to my face, naming my forehead my "happy." This is unashamed, unfiltered, undiluted happiness and joy. It is not afraid to change the painting, to allow the body to move and shift and settle into finding its posture of comfort within the frame.

My heart is open to this very moment.

To see One Moment for yourself, come to the opening Friday, April the 15th at Kai Lin Art. 7-10PM.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Here's a little one I finished today entitled Fecundity. She is 6 x 6 and part of a series of seven studies.

Look at all that beautiful blood. Slippery, warm, loaded with life, intense and vibrant, bleeding with enthusiasm, rich and pulsing. Blood cells dividing into a bouquet of flowers, eggs in an ovary waiting to be picked. Feminine Flora. The very best of what we are, how we came to be here, what we already know. Life finding a way.

Come meet her in person at the Flora opening Friday the 15th at 7PM at Kai Lin Art.


No, this piece is N O T going into Flora. Yu-Kai would have a heart attack. So I gave this instead to my brother Peter who turned 40 in March.

Peter and I share a long history of bathroom talk and dirty words. I remember Mom telling us that those were "bathroom words: poop, fart, farty fart face, pee, peenie, boobs, etc" and so we shrugged shoulders and hung out in the bathroom snickering into the mirror saying as many bathroom dirty words as we could manage before dinner.

Yep. Growing up with Peter and Tommy was pretty fucking awesome when it came to bathroom humor, slapstick comedy, inappropriate stories and comments, practical jokes and more. And no kidding, but my own mother showed us how to make your own poop. NO, not the real stuff. Fake poop out of pumpernickle bread, water and a few pieces of corn. Very realistic!

Anyway, I digress. Back to my story. After grad school I started needlepointing and began to make my own patterns. This one I did right before I met Doug (current husband who also loves potty humor, bless his heart) and I never got it framed. Ten years later Peter turns 40 and I've got the perfect excuse to finally finish the project.

A beautiful Fart pillow that I am told looks beautiful in his house.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Flora's busy finishing up paintings for the show. She's deep in process as her left brain withers away. Ha! It'll grow back at the opening on Friday the 15th at Kai Lin Art. For all you last-minute tax filers, I've heard the deadline has been extended to the 18th this year.

Introducing Modeling. She's a big one (24 x 36) all about the relationship between mother and son. Lots of blue hues and kisses of brick red and yellow ochre, Modeling refers to the example I present on a day to day basis to my son, who is now 4.5 and growing fast. Modeling comes intuitively and can also be an intentional presentation or idea you give your child. At least that's how I see it.

Recent events in Anton's life have rocked our family to its core. Having discovered weeks ago that Anton has sensory related issues surrounding Sensory Processing Disorder (fuck, I really hate that word! Not Fuck! I love the word fuck. Disorder is the word I dislike because it puts a negative connotation to a unique set of elements.) Why does different have to be negative?

You can already see the inner dialogue I am having with myself. These days, I am trying to let them (my issues) all come up and present themselves to me without pushing them away.

So, back to Anton. He's a strong-willed, sensitive, loving and confident young man. He's amazing. My greatest teacher. Two months ago the preschool he attended asked us to leave because of Anton's sensory outbursts. I had made several deep connections with faculty and staff there and we all loved it. They tried and tried to give Anton what he needed but there came a point where we all realized a change needed to happen.

So POOF, my son was home from school every morning and we had no place to go. I had a speech therapist and an occupational therapist working with Anton and every week was a grueling struggle for me as I tried to process all the new info, bring some kind of order to our lives and heal the stuff inside of me that was hurting. All my work was transferred to the weekends as Anton and I spent all day every day together.

Then one day we found Colleen, an amazing and intuitively gifted art student who decided to accept the part time nanny ad we placed. She comes three mornings a week and plays with Anton while I work. Now I've got time to feed myself, so then Anton can get fed. The production of the Flora paintings pumped into fruition and then somehow, all the OT stuff we were doing for Anton kicked in.

There stood a boy who knows his body, who can look at the Incredible Hulk and say, "Mommy, look how high his engine is running. He needs a brushing!" Anton is progressing in leaps and bounds. Next month we have him evaluated at Coralwood and hopefully placed there for the Fall.

During all of this transition, I tried hard to feel and accept everything that came to me. I was angry. Tired. Hurt. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Bewildered. Ashamed. And then I thought, FUCK, I am modeling for Anton an anxious and afraid woman. Do I really want to show him that's the best he can do? The best he can expect?

So I stopped. And told myself that there was NO way I could do this perfectly. I saw the Black Swan (with my dad - NOT a good movie to see with your dad! and if you don't know why, go see it.) and the moral core was all about the pitfalls of perfectionism. We met with a PhD who told us Anton was lucky to have two right-hemisphere parents. He told us we were capable. And that our biggest hurdle to overcome was not Anton's "disorder" but our own fear. He said, "Enjoy him. Enjoy him or you'll miss it."

And suddenly, with that statement, it was possible for me to digest the information his OT (Kate Drummond of About Play (amazing person) was giving us and do it intuitively, from my heart as his mother and friend, rather than from a place of fear.
And then things began to fall into place.

I realized I didn't have to do all of this well or correctly. That I could care without obsessing. That I could ride this wild ride and that every step was made for me.

All of this reflection to me is a blooming flower. I am blooming. Anton is, too. Our realizations are happening between us - this shared experience of growth. My god. My GOD. God gives us the child we need to have.

One flourish in this painting is mimicking the other. Mirroring, modeling, blooming. Anton and I make track together in more ways than the literal. He's fascinated with trains and wheels and cars and tractors and I spend so much time drawing roads with him. So you see here and in a couple of other paintings roads, dashed lines, tracks that twist and turn. It's a painterly calligraphic element, it's a train track, it's my life.