Flying Dream-new painting

For my next art show in November, I’m painting a series on bodies, particularly those that have been transformed by life’s challenges.

I have know several people who have had leg amputations below the knee and this painting was inspired, in a way, by them, as well as by a recent strange dream.   I was trying to fly but was caught in a current of water.

Flying Dreams by Joy Murray, 16×10″ acrylic and ink on stretched canvas

What do you think?


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The Turtle Rider

Like magic, The Turtle Rider is ready.  I took her out into the backyard for some pictures.  She probably deserves a better pedestal but she seemed content.   The green and red boot on her leg is a turtle-shell patterned brace.  I think she’s heading to Harper’s Playground.

Thanks to my friend Lynne for the great fabric!

I signed it on the bottom, which I’ve painted in a mixture of brown and copper, so I wasn’t able to photograph it very well, but you get the idea:

The Turtle Rider will be auctioned off at the Harper’s Playground Art Auction on Friday, September 30th at Disjecta studio.  You can read more about it here on an earlier post.

Well, now that The Turtle Rider has appeared like magic, I wonder if the studio will clean itself up like magic?

My studio exploded!

Dragon Draft

I think I’ve created a pretty good design for my dragon.  The hardest part was the head and it went through several manifestations before I got one that seemed powerful but friendly.  This is a Seeing Eye Dragon who will accompany a visually impaired woman in a fabric sculpture I’m creating called “Shared Vision.”

It’s for the show A Somewhat Secret Place: Art and Disability.  The show will open on July 7th at PRESENTspace at 939 NW Glisan here in Portland, Oregon.  There is still an active Kickstarter campaign going on to help with expenses and to produce a new kind of book that will make the exhibit accessible to visually impaired art lovers.  The curator and visionary behind the show is a visually impaired artist and I think her work on this exhibit has the capacity to influence how art shows are put together in the future.  But it’s a pretty expensive process and the deadline is closing in, so we need all the help we can get. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here: 

I will have three pieces in the show.  My art is almost always about the physical challenges and transformations of life.   I’m very excited about the Shared Vision piece, which I am creating specifically for this exhibit.   While making it, I sometimes take off  my glasses and just work in the blur.  I want to make this a very touchable piece.   I plan to do the title for the piece in “braille” done in french knots.

I wanted to make the service animal a dragon because it symbolizes a mythic sense of power.  I want this piece to be about the power of symbiotic relationships and how our vision is shaped not only by what we see but how we see it.

Like all my dolls and cloth sculptures, I’m starting with an idea and figuring out how to put it together.  I’ve researched how stuffed animals are made and even made a pretty awful alligator from a a pattern.  I didn’t even photograph it and I blame the pattern.  But here, at last, is a pretty good “draft” or prototype of the dragon.  This is without wings or spikes and I’ll probably fatten it up and lengthen the tail, but this is the basic pattern.  It’s going to be a combination of a Western and Eastern dragon, as well as having some canine attributes.

Enter the Draft Dragon

Her face is detailed with markers here but the visionary dragon will have beaded and embroidered eyes and a painted mouth.

Dragon Head

And these are the main fabrics I’ll be using — a pearlized gold with green contrasts.

Dragon fabric

This visionary dragon will take approximately 40 hours to construct and I’ll try to post it at various stages over the next week.  Then I’ll build her visually challenged companion.

Meanwhile, here’s the website of another artist who will be participating in the show.  I love the work of Pat Krishnamurthy who has a wonderful range of styles.  I love that she uses quilts as an inspiration and blends together fragments into singular pieces.  She has a great sense of color and story and her Archetypes for Aging series is vibrant and compelling.

A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art by Catherine Jennifer Helen Miller — Kickstarter

I’m very excited about this exhibit — and Catherine Miller has curated a piece of mine for the exhibit!  This exhibit will take place in July in Portland and it’s going to be a wonderful experience watching it grow.  Catherine J.H. Miller is a vibrant and dynamic curator with some very innovative ideas of how to present art.

Please take a look at the video on this Kickstarter campaign and consider becoming a patron of the arts!

I’ll keep you posted on my piece as it develops.  I may also be telling a story and doing an artist talk with the exhibit.  Yay!




A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art by Catherine Jennifer Helen Miller — Kickstarter.