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My ABC's of Art (part one)

A ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM - a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York in the 1940s. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris. And a movement comprised of some of my favorites De Kooning, Pollock, Rothko....

B BRUSHES - so important! A good brush changes know the right tool and all that. I always feel bad when you see the dumb brushes they give kids to paint with, better to stick with fingerpainting.

C CHUCK CLOSE - one of my all time favorites, from his meticulous pencil drawings to his colorful giant portraits...the man is a genius.

D DAD - my dad, Merrill Mahaffey, is of course one of my greatest influences and greatest supporters. Growing up with artist parents was (and still is) awesome. I didn't know that not everyone had unlimited art supplies.

E EAGER - Mrs. Eager that is. In 4th grade Mrs. Eager was my art teacher, and she was mean...mean...mean. Aside from being mean, she was a little off as well. Given blocks of clay and not much else, most of the 4th grade class put creativity aside and made giant clay dice, myself included. On the day we were supposed to get our fired projects back, Mrs. Eager announced that no one who made dice would get anything back because she thought we were going to use them for gambling. Gambling...10 year olds and 6 inch ceramic dice...gambling. I went home crying, my parents called the principal absolutely outraged that my art project had been confiscated. I got my dice back.

F FRAMES - The eternal framing quest. Big frames, little frames, new frames, old frames, cheap frames, pricey frames...but always neutral frames.

G GRUMBACHER - I wish I had a jillion tubes, all lined up in rainbow order.

H HISTORY - Every artist is better for having studied what came before. In school I relished every art history lesson. By the end I had four editions of Janson and a much deeper understanding of why art is essential. (And my love for the Pre-Raphaelites completely surprised me.)

I ICE CREAM - Wayne Thiebaud's Four Ice Cream Cones has long been a part of my life, seeing it at the Phoenix Art Museum when I was little was always a treat (pun intended). Oh and I thought of one other ice cream/art story my mom likes to tell. When I was little I was lucky enough to get to meet the artist Louise Nevelson at an opening in Scottsdale. I shook her hand and said "Nice to meet you, can you give me a dollar to get an ice cream?". I think my mom might still be a little embarrassed.

J JEANNE MAHAFFEY - my mama and an amazing painter. I am super influenced by her work, her style and just her in general.

K KEHINDE WILEY - um yeah, wow. Just wow. I'm lucky enough to have spent some time with his work at the museum (and even got to meet him at a book signing, the man can do a flocked toile suit) and it is overwhelming and grand and relevant.

L LINO-CUT - this has always been my favorite printmaking technique, despite the obscene amount of band-aids I require every single time I do it.

M MOSAIC - pretty self explanatory if you have seen my work.

Next week N-Z...I better start worrying about X now...

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