Sunday, December 29, 2013

After the Magic (follow up on the Marker Magic show at Frame Fatale)

Kate Kern Mundie, Planter, Crayola SuperTips on paper

Over last summer, I started sharing some of the maker drawings I had been doing on Facebook and people kept asking if they were for sale. That got me to thinking, “Why not turn some of this interest in drawings done in a ‘child’s medium’ into a fundraiser to help children at Andrew Jackson, our neighborhood public school?”
Kate Kern Mundie, Dom Tower, Crayola SuperTips on paper

I approached Elaine Johnson, owner of Frame Fatale to see what her exhibition schedule was and if she would be interested in showing the drawings. Elaine jumped on it, because the whole focus was local: neighborhood artist, local subjects, neighborhood school. Preparing for the show with Elaine was a blast. We threw together the show in about a month - making new work, designing posters, Elaine picking out bright colored frames, and coming up with an exhibit theme. We worked together, deciding on a price point that was affordable and would still make some money for the school but also cover our costs of putting the show together.

Kate Kern Mundie, Zinnias, Crayola SuperTips on paper
Opening night was busy and we sold nearly half the show. When the show came down in December, we managed to raise $950 for Andrew Jackson Elementary School.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support me, Frame Fatale, and the school.

Original post on the show here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grinning gourd

Grinning gourd
Originally uploaded by Prof. Jas. Mundie
Happy Halloween, y'all!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Marker Magic, Drawings by Kate Kern Mundie

Frame Fatale presents a fundraiser exhibition in Crayola marker:
Marker Magic, drawings by Kate Kern Mundie,
October 12 – December 9, 2013

PHILADELPHIA PA – This October, South Philadelphia’s Frame Fatale presents Marker Magic, an exhibition fundraiser of drawings by artist Kate Kern Mundie.  Created with Crayola markers, the drawings focus on dramatic light and vibrant color in landscape.  Many of the drawings depict scenes of Mundie’s Passyunk Square neighborhood and other locations from West Virginia and Cape Cod to Paris. A third of all sales will benefit Andrew Jackson Elementary School.

The exhibition fundraiser begins October 12th and continues through December 9th. An opening reception will take place during Second Saturday on October 12th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Both the exhibition and the receptions are free and open to the public. Frame Fatale is located at 1813 East Passyunk Avenue. For hours and information, please visit

What started as a few sketches using her children’s art supplies has turned into a fully-fledged art form for South Philadelphia-based artist, Kate Kern Mundie.  Mundie sat down to draw with her kids as a way to engage with her children and keep up with her own art practice. Picking up Crayola markers, Kate loved the immediacy, the vivid color, and the possibility to layer colors creating more values and hues. With this series of drawings, Mundie has returned to the materials of her childhood as a way to balance the needs of her children with her needs as an artist.Crayola’s philosophy to inspire creativity in children has also sustained creativity in a parent artist.

Sharing some of the drawings on Facebook, people kept contacting Kate interested in buying the marker drawings. Kate thought, “Why not turn some of this interest in drawings done in a ‘child’s medium’ into a fundraiser to help children at Andrew Jackson Elementary School?” Mundie’s eldest son started kindergarten at Jackson in September and Kate wanted to find a unique way to help Jackson meet the challenges of the Philadelphia public school funding crisis.  The intention was that the drawings should be very affordable for neighborhood families and friends.  “It’s about connecting to the neighborhood and leaving a lasting impression.”

Passyunk Sunset,  7 x 9 inches, Crayola SuperTips on paper

Kate Kern Mundie is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania.  Kate is a landscape painter working in the tradition of American Realism. Her paintings often depict moments of beauty in urban streets, rural landscape, or secluded interiors.  Kate Kern Mundie’s artwork is exhibited widely in the Philadelphia region and found in numerous private collections. She is a two-time recipient of the Fred & Naomi Hazell Faculty Fellowship from the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial. She is represented F.A.N. Gallery in Philadelphia and Station Gallery in Greenville, Delaware. 

Kate lives in South Philadelphia with husband and fellow artist James Mundie and their two boys. For examples of her work, please visit and

Frame Fatale is a full service frame shop and gallery.  Conservation techniques and materials are expertly used to present and preserve client art.  The exhibition space shows intensely Owner Elaine Johnson prides herself in showcasing the work of artists local to East Passyunk as the area is home to a very creative class of artists, writers, musicians, and designers who are neighbors and clients.  Most of the exhibits at Frame Fatale have featured the City of Philadelphia in some way, or have been a part of a city-wide festival. Elaine Johnson says of her choice to live and work in the Passyunk Square area, “When I moved to South Philadelphia nearly a decade ago, I said, ‘This is it!This is where I'm supposed to be!’It felt comfortable and familiar, despite my never having visited it before. I have since married here, opened a business, moved my senior mother to the area, and send my child to a South Philly school. I feel like I see the community from every angle, and that has only strengthened my commitment.”

Fond, 9 x 7 inches, Crayola SuperTips on paper

Guided by a dedicated staff of teachers, a dynamic principal, and wonderful volunteers, Jackson’s kindergarten through eighth grade students are encouraged to embrace its diverse cultures, demonstrate respect for themselves and others, and to set and achieve academic goals.  Jackson is a community partner helping to make the Passyunk Square neighborhood a great place to live, proving that great schools make great neighborhoods.  Kate Kern Mundie and Elaine Johnson are excited to support Jackson’s mission.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Marker Drawing Study

Paris, Late Afternoon, 8 x 10 inches, Crayola SuperTips Markers on paper
I have been struggling with this view in an oil painting. I decided to explore it though drawing. I feel like the marker drawings are getting more expressive. I am going to try and bring the color and movement from the drawing back into the landscape painting.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Crayola Markers and Kids Art Materials

Balston Beach, marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches
I am having a lot of fun drawing with my kids art materials. I am using Crayola SuperTips washable markers 24 pack.The colors are vibrant and layer well. I use the markers and my sketch book and can quickly capture the landscape.

Corn Hill Beach, marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches

Sometimes the brightness of the colors it a little hard to control, I like to have some muted tones but over all it works.
Schuylkill River, marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches
I did a color test to see how light fast the colors were. I had a sample in direct light in the window for several weeks. The oranges, reds and greens hold up well. The pinks and purples showed some fading but it was not too bad.
Logan's Circle marker on paper, 9 x 12 inches

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Poetry and Drawing

Sisyphus of the Laundry, ink on paper, 7 x 5 inches

Two of my drawings were published with Pattie McCarthy's poems from genre scenes  in  Horseless Press Review 15.  You can read her poems here.

Self Portrait with Tools and an Ironing Board (at age 37), charcoal on paper, 18 x 12 inches. 

Pattie McCarthy is the author of four books from Apogee Press: Marybones, Table Alphabetical of

Hard Words, Verso, andbk of (h)rs.  A former Pew Fellow in the Arts, she teaches at Temple University and lives outside Philadelphia with her family.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Locking cargo bikes outside (a.k.a., The Bike Port)

Cityscape painting using a bakfiets for transport. 
This blog is for all things art, but I am going off on a bit of a tangent here because I needed a platform to post this.  Besides being artists, Jim and I are parents and urbanists. We do most of our transportation by bike and that includes taking kids to school, delivering artwork, and landscape painting trips.

I have a bakfiets. For those of you who don’t know, that is a Dutch box or cargo bike.  It’s 8 feet long and weighs 98 pounds empty, but it can carry up to four children and all kinds of other stuff.  Think two kids and four bags of groceries, or fill it with ice and beer and you’ve got a portable block party.   I often throw my easel box in there and cycle off to find cityscapes I want to paint, so it becomes a portable studio.

As we live in the city in a rowhouse and have no other option for storing this behemoth, we lock up the cargo bike outside in front of our house year-round.  Because of the weight, width and length of the bike we cannot make the tight turns it would take to put it inside the house or get it around into our tiny back yard.
The bike locked up in front of our rowhome. 
A couple of people who have recently acquired or are thinking of getting a cargo bike have asked about  our locking set-up.  This is how we do it:

(Please note: We own our house. If you are a renter and would like to create a similar arrangement you would need to talk to your landlord first.)

We originally explored several options, including putting motorcycle anchors in the sidewalk or installing our own bike rack.  But then our awesome neighbor Mike suggested and installed what he calls “The Bike Port” into the masonry at the front of our house.  He has one on his house for his Workman cycle. “The Bike Port” is a pad eye bolt used for mooring or dry-docking boats. Mike got them at Joe Fazzio Metals . This one is classed for 1000 pounds and has a 15-inch long shoulder and threaded end with a nut, and costs about $6.
The Bike Port
The Bike Port
Mike drilled through our front brick basement wall, applied some caulk for weather proofing to the house-facing side of the shoulder, and bolted it through the wall into our basement.   It is extremely rugged and only requires an occasional coat of rustproof paint (as you can see, we are overdue).

The Locks

The rear wheel has a Dutch AXA wheel lock which makes the rear wheel immovable when engaged; the front wheel is locked to the frame with a Kryptonite U-lock; and the frame is locked to the “port” with a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain with Disc Lock.  This represents around $250 worth of locks, but is money well spent – especially considering the value of the bike itself.

Locking up the front wheel. The shaft that turns the front wheel sandwiches the lock and keeps it from lifting over the frame. 

Locking to the Port
In bad weather, we cover the bike with a motorcycle cover that has a leash and padlock.
All the locks are not a barrier to riding. We can lock and unlock quickly, and then just stow all of the locks and chain in the cargo box in order to lock up at our next location.   When everything is in place, somebody would have to be extremely motivated and equipped with cutting torches and a couple of stout dudes to carry it away in order to steal this bike.  The only drawbacks are, we have had a little trouble with a local kid “tagging” the cargo box and we have to do some rust and weather protection to the bike frame and box every spring.

Bike with motorcycle cover for bad weather.

Bike locks won't make your bike 100% theft-proof, but you can do everything you can to slow down a thief or make it not worth the effort. I have the bike's serial number written down, I have made my bike unique by adding bumper stickers, I have lots of photos of me riding or standing next to the bike, so I can prove it's mine in the event the bike is ever stolen and recovered or presented for resale. 

Now back to art. (Later I will do a post on keeping four bikes in the living room of a 16-foot wide row home)

Other useful information on locks and more here.
More on family biking

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Self Portrait-Portrait on International Women's Day

Portrait of the artist after Saul Steinberg on International Women's Day. Collaboration with the photographer James Mundie
After the last show my studio was a mess. I needed to clean up and get old work stored properly and get the studio back into a working space again. I was looking at images of artists in their studios and saw this funny one (below) of Saul Steinberg-- self portrait within a portrait.

Image via: Mondoblogo: Saul Steinberg, 1959 Photo: Inge Morath
I began thinking about what sort of self portrait I would put on a bag. Would it be realistic or a cartoon? Then I began thinking of some of the themes I am working through in my painting right now. I ended up with a pretty small paper bag that barely fit on my head but it fits with the constrictions of the titles of Mom, Wife, Employee, Artist.

Jim and I worked on the composition together. I felt that it was important that this work was done on International Woman's Day.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Architectural sketch (Divine Lorraine)

Another experiment in "drawing with film", but this time in color. I was using a low ASA positive color film manufactured by Fuji that provides extremely brilliant color, but that becomes diluted by the light of each subsequent exposure.  

The marks a return to the Divine Lorraine, which I have photographed many times. This week, my set of photographs of the Divine Lorraine on Flickr was also featured on the Eraserhood blog.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Architectural sketch (13th Street)

I have been experimenting with multiple exposures again, but this time with many - six, seven, eight... - overlapping exposures that when layered take on the look of a charcoal sketch that has been obsessively drawn in and wiped away. Or perhaps it approximates memory. Or captures intersecting dimensions. The actual building is in there somewhere.

Monday, January 7, 2013

No. 1098.01 354 (Mütter Museum)

On the afternoon of January 5th, I returned to the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to do some drawing. When I arrived I found the place packed to the gills - even more so than it's been on recent visits.

Perhaps we can blame Anthony Bourdain for his recent televised visit or the Brothers Quay for their recent film, but this surge in attendance has been building momentum for the last several years. When I first started visiting the Mütter many years ago, I could spend hours in the galleries without seeing another soul. And while I am pleased to see a beloved institution so well attended, it's a bit of a pain for someone like me to find people standing three deep around each case.

At times like this, I am reminded of a scene in the 1992 film A Question of Attribution. Sir Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures (played by James Fox), is explaining a painting to a policeman in the National Gallery when a gaggle of Japanese tourists wander in and obstruct the view. Sir Anthony is enraged to be so interrupted and exclaims, "This is intolerable! Guards! Guards! Clear the gallery!" And they do.

Ah, how often I have wished to exercise such a power - but only for good, of course. With great power comes great responsibility, after all.

At any rate, I did manage to do two drawings that afternoon despite the close quarters and constant jostling. I have found that wearing earphones helps to blot out the conversations going on around me and prevents well-meaning people from attempting to converse with me. So, I was alone with David Bowie and the cephalothoracopagus skeleton for about an hour. Then, with just fifteen minutes left until closing, I dashed out this quick drawing of a 6-month-old fetal skull. This particular corner is often overlooked in favor of more ostentatious exhibits. I drew directly in sepia ink on a 4x6-inch block of Lana cold-pressed watercolor paper (so the skull itself is just about actual size) - without any prior sketching in pencil.

The next day, working from memory, I refined the drawing with washes of blue and brown ink. After the ink washes dried, I reinforced some of the important lines with black ink. Overall, I am quite pleased with the result - especially where the warm and cool colors overlap and blend. I believe I will continue to do more studies using this technique.