Tuesday, July 31, 2012

new stencils

i'm trying to get some paintings finished up before the weekend when i go to lake cumberland, ky for a few days.  i have a solo show coming up (opening the end of august) at artlink in fort wayne, and besides county fair and its updates, i'll be introducing this new series of paintings.  after the quilt mural in winamac, patterns have made their way into many of my new assemblage paintings, along with a whole bunch of new images and interactive features.

today i woke up way late and went to the studio and cut 2 new stencils, the capitol, and a classroom of 4 kids at desks.  many of the paintings i'm working on have been dealing with pop culture ideas, themes and images.  i'll post pictures as i finish the pieces.  the images below are on different panels of the same painting.

zach medler painting
the us capitol, with churches in the connecting foreground
zach medler painting
a classroom.  one disinterested student, one over-achiever, one sleeping, one staring into space.  

{Share your ZMEDCeramics pictures} Tom Sarmo

Fellow blogger friend, Tom Sarmo of Cranky Bird Studio, sent us pictures of our houses in his home.

This series of linoblock-print porcelain houses were part of the House and Home show at Mudfire earlier this year and are still available for sale on their website. If you like reading art blogs, check out Tom's page. He draws, paints and constructs colorful, whimsical characters in clay and fabric.

(via tomsarmo.blogspot.com)

Monday, July 30, 2012

hello new week

Hello last Monday in July. It's 90F out and the sky is threatening rain. I thought we'd celebrate the start of a new week by sharing a song ...  

A couple of weeks ago, when Zach and I met up with our friends Tetia and Joy at the unveiling of the Winamac mural, Joy convinced us we had to buy Eddie Vedder's Ukulele Songs. I am so glad we did. His voice is incredible as usual and all the songs on the album are heartbreakingly good.

Hope you all have a good week ahead!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

sunday afternoon snack

The first summer Red Mango came to town, Zach and I practically lived on frozen yogurt. We've weaned ourselves since then, but we still like the occasional treat.

Zach likes the original flavor topped with blueberries and mochi, and I like mine topped with graham cracker crust!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

sometimes ideas are hard to swat at like flies

it is one of those days in the studio.  i was there for about 9 hours and accomplished a whole lot of nothing.  i cut several stencils that i subsequently trashed.  i worked on a painting, then turpentined off what i painted on.  then painted on it some more.  then cut some more stencils.  mostly i think i just wandered aimlessly around the studio searching for some kind of inspiration.  but blah is the word for the day.  but these days happen.  i think most of us assume that art has no bad days.  oh but it does.  especially when you're excited to spend a whole uninterrupted day in studio.  then nothing.  not blankness, just blandness and unfiltered ideas and stories that jump around like flies that you cannot kill no matter how many times you swat at them.  so to the ideas i cannot swat, here's where you've gotten me today:

Cat don't know ...

Our gigantic grey and white cat has no idea how big he is ...

he fits snugly in his too-tiny hole and leaves a paw or his tail hanging out (it's both in this case!)!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

tiny planet pictures

Zach and I were reminiscing about the "old" days where you have to buy a computer program for hundreds of dollars just to have a software that performs special applications. These days, fancy apps that can do just about anything go for less than $30 and you can utilize them right on your smartphone! In fact, $.99 apps are about the only affordable things left that can bring you hours of joy and distraction. iPhone games are even known to have the power to make waiting fun if you lack patience!

And then there are photography apps. I imagine everyone has their favorite. Here's are some pictures I jazzed-up with the Tiny Planets Pictures app:

tiny planet SF
Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
singapore childhood
Leon and I. My dad used to take us kite flying when we were little.
autumn trees
Peninsula State Park in Door County, WI
tiny planet
Zach's clay pieces, from a series he made for an Elvis-themed show at Curly Tale Fine Art in Chicago
Christmas time; tree outside our house
corn in the fall
Corn in the fall
Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Thai Beef Salad

Too hot to cook a real meal? Ordinary salads too wimpy for dinner? I think I have a recipe that will change your mind! Homemade Thai beef salad is a light and refreshing alternative, plus it will only take you a few minutes to grill the beef outside so you don't have to worry about heating up the house!


1lb beef sirloin (about 1-in thick), light dash of salt and pepper on each side
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red onion (or shallot), sliced thinly
1 small cantaloupe, cubed
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced (I used an orange pepper for this)
1 cup cucumber slices
2-4 Thai chilies, sliced thinly
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup lightly packed torn mint leaves
6 cups lightly packed lettuce

1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar


Preheat grill.
Salt and pepper both sides of steak and grill to medium rare (about 5 mins per side). Slice thinly and let cool.
To make dressing, whisk lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, Thai chilies in a small bowl.
Mix the rest of the vegetables in a larger bowl.
Add sliced beef to the salad. Pour dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine.

What a great way to use up fresh summer produce from your garden too! Hope you'll try out this recipe!

Monday, July 23, 2012

I am a tomato plant hero!

I saved our tomato plants from this giant ugliness:

Zach wasn't home when I spotted it. I had texted him to come home to get it, but he was busy in the studio and told me I needed to deal with the "big m***** f*****" myself. There was no way I was going to pluck that thing off the plant. Just staring at it gave me the hibbie jibbies. I tried to distract myself with work but my mind kept finding its way back to the giant hornworm devouring my precious tomato plant. That's when I knew I had to do something.

I searched the house for a tool, something that would allow me to pick up the worm without actually touching it. Suddenly, it came to me -- the long-handled grabber Zach's mom had given me for Christmas 2 years ago! I've never used that thing before but it looks perfect for the job. It is long and sturdy and I won't ever have to get anywhere near the hornworm. So I grabbed the grabber and headed out bravely. I clamped on the worm and pulled. No good. The worm was too strong. I didn't want to squish it but it's forcing me to clamp even tighter and pull even harder. Ever played tug-of-war with a hornworm? That's what I was doing. And the whole time I was doing that, I was afraid the tomato branch would snap back and fling the worm onto me. Oh how I would die. But I persevered. And after what seemed like an eternal struggle in this unforgiving sun, the worm was in the gripper of the grabber. I win. I am a tomato plant hero!

Winamac: Sights and Sounds from the Unveiling

Thank you to everyone who came out to the unveiling of the mural. The title People, Places, and Patterns of Pulaski County, chosen by Lynn Darda, aptly describes the warmth and cheer of the people of Winamac. Thank you so much for your support and hospitality!
For those who were not able to attend the unveil, we've made a little video with snippets of speeches by Tetia, Lynn, and Zach that we hope you'll enjoy.  

Zach has 4 more murals to paint this summer and I am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Winamac: People, Places, and Patterns of Pulaski County

the finished piece.  yesterday, before the unveiling, i added in the clothes pins, the birds and the clothes line.  
the winamac mural is titled People, Places, and Patterns of Pulaski County
last night was the official unveiling of the mural in winamac.  mindy and i drove drove out early to finish out the mural with its clothesline, some clothes pins, and a few new birds.  after i finished, and signed my name to the top, i took mindy to winamac's town park to wander around the power from the past show and to check out the swinging bridge (which made its way into the mural as an important local landmark).

volunteers, community members, and some of the kids who helped with the mural
climbing the ladder to paint in the clothes pins
the unveiling went well and we had a good crowd.  we coordinated our event with the grand opening of Tippy's Pizza and Beer (we painted on the side of their building) and the Power from the Past show.  The street was blocked off, the radio station was there, and the pizza and beer were flowing.  It was a lot of fun to sit and chat with people and meet and greet, and get the kids and volunteers to sign the piece.  i'm very happy that everyone seems pleased with the work.  it was a busy saturday and i thank everyone who came out, and all the support they showed.

we had to do something with the sign.  the birds seemed appropriate.
lynn darda (teacher, and TAF regional representative, and a major reason that we got to do this project in the first place), talking to the local radio host about the mural.  the radio was out here for the grand opening of tippy's pizza and beer.
joanna darda, art student at herron school of art in indy, signs her name to the one of the panels.  she created the stencils that we used for the pattern portions of the quilt.  her father, don, our lead volunteer, snaps her photograph.
special shout-out to Tippy's Pizza and Beer. love the generous NY-style pizza slices. the oinkster was the best!

p.s. more pictures on our Facebook page.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

saturday evening snack

Tonight Zach made me a dessert of grilled peach with vanilla ice cream. I'm belly belly happy! :)

{rObOts invade} Artists' Own

yesterday i built a whole bunch of paper robots and this morning, when i worked at artists' own, i installed an arrangement out of them in the window.  all the robots are spray painted stencils on craft paper.  they are double-sided and are glued together around a wire frame that becomes the legs.

zach medler robots
robots in the window at artists own 
zach medler robots

zach medler

'stop looking @ ur phone'  this painting is layers of stencils and spray paint on plexigalss.  the effect of the light shining through the translucent painted surface give it such incredible depth and brilliance.  each side of the painting looks different and allows you to discover different elements.
zach medler
from outside the window
zach medler robots
from outside the window with 'stop looking @ ur phone' in the background

Friday, July 20, 2012

early morning flight

a superhero flies in the soft drizzly rain ...

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Love is the vital essence that pervades and permeates,  from the center to the circumference, 
the graduating circles of all thought and action. Love is the talisman of human weal and woe 
-- the open sesame to every soul.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Mussels Provencal

We ate a lot of shellfish in Singapore. Loads and loads of clams, cockles, oysters, crayfish, shrimps, lobsters, and crabs. Over here in Indiana, we have mainly mussels to satisfy our shellfish craving. When we see them at the store, we buy them by the pound and steam them to perfection. Here's one of the recipes we always come back to ...


12oz whole wheat linguine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh tarragon
1 tsp fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1 lb fresh mussels

Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain.
Cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly golden.
Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, cook until soft.
Add wine, and fresh herbs. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Stir in mussels, cover again and simmer another 6-7 minutes.
Serve mussels and sauce over pasta.
Chow down immediately.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{rObOts invade} our front yard

Robot invasion!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Invite to the Official Unveiling

You're invited to attend the official unveiling of the mural in Winamac, Indiana! This event will coincide with the grand opening of Tippy's Pizza and the 35th annual Power from the Past festival so you can expect the town to be bustling with lots of excitement. Zach and I are planning to get there early enough so we can stop by some garage sales. I'm hoping for good weather and a great turnout! If you live in the area, please consider coming to meet with and support everyone involved with this awesome project!

More information can be found here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stencil Paintings

these are all stencils from the winamac mural.  the pattern is something i've become very interested in and i can say honestly that i would have never tried doing patterns if i hadn't painted a giant quilt.

since we returned from singapore i've been mostly putting in time on the mural in winamac.  but i've also been in the studio reworking some old paintings (by reworking i mean painting over) and working on some new ones.  i love some of the stencils i cut for the mural in winamac and so i've reprised them in some paintings.  the paintings are mostly works that i had already started or even finished, but some are new.

i tend to work on a body of work over a few months, producing many pieces and multiples that revolve around the exploration of an idea, a story and/or a technique.  some pieces turn out wonderful.  some turn out mediocre.  i paint over or reassemble many of them.  so, when i went back and looked at some of the paintings i did in the spring; they felt washed out.  not just that the color wasn't bright.  it wasn't rich.  it wasn't full.

 i've been using all of these commercial house paints and spray paint for the last 2 murals (3 months) and i guess the color palette has started to grow on me.  most of these paintings are 'in progress' and not yet finished, but i thought i'd give a brief bit of insight into what's going on in the studio since we've returned from singapore.

so this one is missing a few parts.  there is a light that goes behind the 'please gently turn the cranks' panel (its on plex so it glows).  and there is a crank that fits in the hold on the white panel.  then you turn the crank and the claw (that sits below the lighted panel) will lower into the framed box where you can try to retrieve one of these guys....
2 sided paper robot dolls with a wire between.  can be picked up from the 'robot claw' game with the magnet claw.
don't know what to paint on this yet.  i'm thinking of turning it into a game for county fair.
a piece i did in the spring and i redid today.  not finished yet.
the tv is a light box and has the paisley pattern behind it.  you can see it clearly when it glows with a light in the box.  again with the pattern and the stitching.  this was actually one of the testers for stitching the mural quilt.
birds a tree and clouds
the tv is again a light box.  there are more birds on the other side you can only see with a light on in the box.  i thought the bubbles becoming sheep was funny as they floated into clouds.  i think i must have been staring at clouds this day.
corn!  i used the idea of advertising signs to create this one.  dee-lish-us!  thinking about how we eat.

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