Musings on KC Streetcar Mural

From the artist: In late spring, the Art in the Loop Foundation commissioned me, among many other artists, to create temporary work for the series of summer programming in downtown Kansas City titled Connect. With the opportunity to partner with the KC Streetcar Authority during the streetcar’s inaugural year, a mural on one of the station stops seemed a clear choice. I See Yowas installed mid-July at the northbound Power & Light stop near 14th & Main.

Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016
Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016

Since I have been itching to do more of what I call “lace portraiture,” another clear choice was before me. This piece graphically fused the nature of lace – domestic, intimate, soft – with the metaphor I see in the material of many individuals strands creating an interconnected network. In I See You, the overlapping strands of cursive text radiate out to create the profile of a figure, a self-portrait, in truth. Yet, this is portraiture not beholden to capturing the physical likeness. Rather, it captures thought, consciousness, a meditation, or at the very least, that is my intent.

Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016
Art in the Loop: Connect │ Power & Light KC Streetcar Stop │ 70sf │ 2016

I invite you to visit the Art in the Loop’s website to listen to a short clip where I spoke about the meaning of this piece during the opening reception. The description I gave there is a bit different than what I have shared anywhere else and something I felt best shared through voice.

This work references a series of drawings created from the desire to transcribe consciousness into visual form.
This work references a series of drawings created from the desire to transcribe consciousness into visual form.

One never knows how a work will be received and I am grateful that this piece seems to be appreciated. Along with Don Wilkison‘s project, aka m.o.i., (Minister of Information), I See You was featured on KCUR’s website. The Shawnee Mission Post also featured the work.

The transparency of the mural overlays a lacy filter onto the downtown surroundings at the northbound Power & Light Streetcar stop near 14th & Main St.
The layers of handwritten text were printed onto a clear adhesive vinyl. While individual words can be picked out here and there, overall, the layers render the sentences illegible. A graphic mass of thought is the result.

While this work is temporary, up through September, I will have the opportunity to share more lace portraiture through an upcoming project called Femin Is.  This launched softly on KC Art Pie, with a hard launch including a Kickstarter campaign coming in October (sign up for updates here).

So, more lace, or at least my interpretation of it, is on the way. Until then, you can join me on the 17th for an Art on the Route tour hosted by ArtsKC and the Kansas City Artists Coalition. Otherwise, you have until the end of September to view I See You as well as all the other works on the line. Then it will be like what remains of our summer: going, going, gone.

With gratitude,
Rachelle Gardner-Roe

Work in Progress – morning drawing

Here’s the start of a new drawing I’m working on in the mornings. The shiny surface that you see is a layer of masking to help protect the black background while I’m working. “Riff” is the working title, though that may change. I went to a jazz concert at the Folly Theater about two weeks ago and sometimes these shapes look like jazz to me.

Riff (working title): colored pencil on illustration board

Boley Sketch from Monster Drawing Rally

Boley Monster Rally Sketch
Boley Monster Drawing Rally Sketch to benefit Newhouse Womens Shelter

This 8.5 x 11″ sketch was the 1-hr trial run the night before the drawing rally, so the second and final version was definitely cleaner. Timed drawing is not my comfort zone, as I’m a pretty leisurely drawer, perhaps too leisurely…

In any case, if you’re pretty familiar with my work, you might guess that I’m a bit in love with the Boley Building downtown, as I’ve drawn its details a few times. I chalk it up to the fact that its primary detail so resembles a form I was drawing before I ever saw it, so adding the architectural elements to the berries was pretty natural.

It might all just go back to picking so many blueberries on the farm as a kid. I’m a bit fanatical about it now…

Rally Wrap-up

So the Monster Drawing Rally sounded like a fun concept, and it was. It was more of a pressure-situation than I’m used to, as I am not a particularly fast drawer, but it was good.
The Arts Incubator on a First Friday was packed as usual, and here is a link to some pics. And yes, I was the only artist to bring her own lighting. Anal or just prepared, it’s up for debate. I felt rather goofy brining it out, but I was drawing on black and it helped immensely!

I did a trial run the night before, so I’ll post an image of that later tonight.

Last Open Studios Tonight!

My last open studio at the Bonfils is tonight! I’ll have a variety of work on display, old and new, all recession-priced. Partnership Studios will also be having open studios, and The Paragraph Gallery will be opening the new show that night as well. All within walking distance…come see!

Bonfils Artist Studios
125 E. 12th St.

Friday, April 17th
6-9 pm

Here’s a few new drawings I’ll have up…


Just Before the First Touch
The Bee Hive Ain't for Everybody
Be the Tango


Work from KCAC Show

Definitely late, but here are the newest pieces from the Kansas City Artists Coalition show that just closed.

Boley Building

Boley Building (12th & Walnut)
36″ x 12″
colored pencil on panel


Scarritt Building

Scarrit Building (9th & Grand)
12″ x 36″
colored pencil on panel



30″ x 30″
colored pencil on panel


Scarritt Building Study
10″ x 10″
colored pencil on panel


16″ x 12″
colored pencil on paper

"Boley" really finished & Oooh, podbabies!

Okay, so I forgot I wanted to add a blue tinge to Boley, and there were some berry groupings that…just…bothered…me. So, here we are…

And here are more podbababies on their happy stands. These are drying out and will be bisque fired probably next week. I took a kiln load to my favorite potter, Rebecca Koop, last night for their first firing. Yay for progress.


Boley Building – Mostly Finished

Here’s this one pretty much done. I’ll probably make some small adjustments here and there, but overall, that’s it. I’ll add a pic when I take the frisket off and get it sealed. The finished size is 36″H x 12″W x 2″D


New Drawing – Boley Building

Here’s the first few stills for a new piece I’ve been working on. I should finish it today or tomorrow. For context, I’ve also included a photograph of the original detail on the Boley Building that’s down the street from my studio. Oh, and the shiny looking stuff is actually a shiny plastic I put over the background to protect the surface from dust and me screwing up until I can seal the whole piece.


Searching & Treasure – Done?

Well, Searching is pretty much done, but I’ll probably tinker with it since it won’t be framed for a while. Originally, I thought I’d donate this to the Epsten Gallery’s Urban Suburban art auction in October. I’ve decided to give them a different one since I need boat images for the KC Coalition show I’m doing in September.

So I’ll be donating the second one shown below instead, which I’ve titled Treasure.