Saturday, April 1, 2023

Illuminated Manuscript

Tada! I finally got around to coloring one of my own coloring book pages, ha! I made this page just about 2 years ago when I was going through an extremely stressful time in my life and I was in a constant anxiety spiral. Through happenstance, two of my friends Carolyn Murray Spencer and Chrissy Giandonato both suggested that I read Untamed by Glennan Doyle, so naturally I did!

One of the parts of the book that resonated the most with me was when she talked about her own anxiety and creating a list of "reset buttons" to help her return to herself.

"I keep a handwritten poster in my office titled “Easy Buttons and Reset Buttons.” On the left are all the things I do to abandon myself. On the right are my reset buttons, the things I can do to make staying with myself a little more possible.” - Glennan Doyle

I didn't make the easy buttons, but I decided to make my own list of Reset Buttons. I was teaching a unit on typography at the time and somehow then made a mental leap to illuminated manuscripts for my inspiration. Side note: this drawing also then became the basis for an illuminated manuscript project that I taught in my Art History class last year during the Medieval Art unit! I believe one of them actually won a Scholastics Art Award this year! My kids are legit THE BEST!

I will probably color in a few more versions of this as I would like to explore a few other color palettes - but that's the beauty of coloring book pages! I can color in as many as I want!

If you would like to buy your own .pdf version of the page, you can download it from Etsy for $5 here

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Scholastics Art Awards

I am so proud of my students at Cab Calloway School of the Arts, they have accomplished so much this year! By the end of the year, our students will have participated in 6 art exhibitions, the Scholastics Art competitions, and countless community initiatives!

It can be hard to quantify the success of a school's program, and Scholastics is but a small fraction of the successes of our kids, but I am thrilled to share with you some highlights from the competition this year! You can also see the actual artwork here!

Cab Calloway School of the Arts: 2023 Scholastics Art Awards

  • 132 Individual Art Awards

  • 2 National Silver Keys

  • 27 Gold Keys

  • 39 Silver Keys

  • 66 Honorable Mentions

  • 66 Students were recognized (30 middle school, 36 high school)

  • 2 American Vision Nominees (best in state)

  • 24% of the overall awards in the state were presented to Cab Calloway students

But it's honestly so much more than the awards that matter. One of the things I love the most about my students is how hard they work, and how much passion they put into their art. I have students who come in before school to knock out a few prints from their linocuts, a bevy of freshman who come in during homeroom every day to do extra work on their ceramics projects, seniors who come in during every study hall in order to work on their own personal projects.

Working with these kids every day is just absolutely inspiring. Some of the kids love digital art and aspire to become illustrators. Others are making contemporary art about the personal issues that impact them, such as gender and identity. Many are embracing technical challenges and can create hyper-realistic portraits. I love that the full range of interests and skills is both present, and embraced.

If I could give myself one task an art teacher, it would be to encourage students to find their own voice and vision, and to share that with the world without fear of failure! Because of course every artist will fail, but I like to think that if all we do is succeed, than are we really challenging ourselves and pushing ourselves to the limit of our creativity?

All that to say that I'm so proud of my kids who won awards, AND for every student who wins an award (in a system that is very biased towards realism), there are at least 2 other students who are taking creative risks and potentially even failing whose efforts I am equally as proud of! To all of my students who inspire me EVERY day with your enthusiasm and creativity, THANK YOU for being you and I am so proud of you all!!!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2022

In the News - Delaware LIVE

The day started out just like any other day - well, minus the fact that it's grading day, and every school teacher knows what that feels like! I was dreading checking my email (as one does on grading day), when much to my surprise I was faced with a delightful message from Jarek Rutz, an education reporter for Delaware LIVE News. What a welcome way to start the day, indeed!

As it turns out, this was the second interview I did today - I'm getting good at this, folks! The first interview was for the Delaware State of the Arts podcast (hopefully coming out this Saturday or Sunday) via Zoom, and then I had a phone interview with Jarek. You would think that as a teacher, you are used to talking all day and you wouldn't be so nervous for interviews.... and you would be wrong! It was oddly nerve-racking, though to be sure, there is no subject I am more familiar with than my own artwork. After both interviews, I was certainly shaking with a combination of nerves and intense enthusiasm.

I didn't expect the article to go online so quickly, but here it is. I was at Brew Ha-Ha, waiting to meet up with Shawn Faust and Jeremy Hebbel, two amazing Delaware artists with whom I am collaborating on an upcoming project called Into Light. More on this in another post! While I was waiting, I innocently opened my email to see the article was already live! I'm fairly certain the baristas at the counter just thought I was really feeling the groove of the 90's music in the background (which, to be fair, I was) but in actuality, I was quite literally, jumping up and down with excitement. 

Every artist is excited to of course have their minute in the spotlight. However, as a chronic migraine sufferer, one of the things I find the most heartening is that the more air space my exhibition gets, the more people will be talking about what it really is like to suffer from migraines, a neurological disease. Since the inception of this project, so many people have reached out to me to share their experiences, and I think that it is just so helpful to know we are not out there, suffering alone. 

Luckily for me, I have had an amazing support group here in Delaware. I attribute it to them (and also to Emgality, and no I'm not getting kickbacks ha!) that I have made such strides in recovering my health.

All that said and done, please check out this great article! Let me know what you think and feel free to share YOUR migraine story!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Press Release and Video

Read the full press release for my exhibition below after watching my Artist Video

The Delaware Division of the Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery presents 2022 DDOA Individual Artist Fellow Maia Palmer’s exhibition, "Making the Invisible, Visible", running November 4-25, 2022. Guests are invited to attend a Meet-the-Artist Reception on Friday, November 4, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (There will be student performance at 5pm from the strings majors at Cab Calloway School of the Arts, with special thanks to educator Julie Murphy)
Committed to “being a positive force for social change,” Palmer is the high school visual arts teacher at Cab Calloway School of the Arts. She feels strongly about teaching there, saying “I am a product of public school and I want to be part of rebuilding its strength.” One of the most exciting aspects of receiving the Fellowship is “the recognition of my work” and the ability to further its scope and her goal to “help amplify the voices of those who are not always heard.”
"Making the Invisible, Visible" features a series of migraine self-portraits documenting Palmer’s experiences as a migraineur over the past 15 years. To be clear, migraine is a neurological disease, one that is debilitating and painfully real. Yet it is frequently referred to as an “invisible illness,” as there are often no visible symptoms. Women in particular are subject to dismissive treatment because of this, as Palmer has experienced first hand.
With these works, Palmer examines her relationship with migraine. She merges autobiographical experiences with imagery and text laden with both historical and personal value. Each of these images captures a real, private moment that she has in fact experienced - from hiding under blankets to wearing hand-made ‘migraine boxes’. She says, “Creating these drawings is a visceral process of acknowledging the larger than life physical and emotional pain that migraine has caused in my life - as well as the emotional and physical growth it has helped me accomplish. I am ultimately a stronger person as I emerge on the other side of chronic migraine, cherishing every moment and delighting in our capacity as humans to overcome and endure.”
Navigating her own experiences, Palmer has embodied the physical and mental trauma of this illness by manipulating surfaces and materials to simulate the experience of a migraine - the tearing of paper, or the piercing of a surface with needle and thread. By making visible the invisible trauma of migraine, she aims to bring awareness to this consistently under-funded, chronically misunderstood disease.
The Mezzanine Gallery, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is located on the second floor of the Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, Wilmington.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Announcing My Upcoming Solo Show: Making the Invisible, Visible

Save the date!!! My solo show is coming up soon, Friday, Nov 4, 5-7pm, Mezzanine Gallery! I would love to see your faces there!

As many of you know, over the past 14 years, I have endured discrimination, harassment, broken relationships, strained friendships, and unemployment due to migraine. I am so thankful to have emerged on the other side as healthy and functional, but it has taken a really long time to get here, and loads of support from my family and friends.

I began this series after suffering some setbacks with my migraines. I had been doing well, but then Covid, teaching online, producing videos on a regular basis, and dealing with discrimination and an extremely stressful situation at my job was ultimately too much and my migraines got significantly worse again.
I had forgotten how debilitating they could be. And it's not just about the physical pain, but also the frustration at feeling shut in, trapped, and unable to live life as you want when you are stuck at home, under the covers, hidden in the dark. Happily, my migraines have become more manageable although they still continue to flare up. I sincerely believe that this project has helped me cope in many ways, and I hope that if you are a migraine sufferer, that seeing this works helps provide a feeling of solidarity and understanding to our so often misunderstood condition!!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Move Over Dick and Jane

More exciting news on the art front! This is QUITE the year!

My artwork, "Move Over Dick and Jane," has been accepted into the exhibition: “Let Me Tell You: Work by Women Artists, Taking Up Space” at Chris White Gallery. Opening Reception is Friday, May 6, from 5-8pm. I hope you can join us for this celebration of stories told by women! (fyi, I will be there for the later part, as we ALSO have a National Art Honor Society exhibition by Cab Calloway School of the Arts visual arts students at the Talleyville Frame Shoppe & Gallery. More info forthcoming!!

About my dear friend:
This collaborative painting is of my good friend Susan M. I met Susan through a high school friend who set us up on a friend 'blind date.' We immediately hit it off and bonded over our shared desire to learn how to salsa dance and brush up on our Spanish together! Ever since I met her, I knew that Susan was a serious powerhouse. She is this insanely smart, competent powerful woman who excels at so many of the things that to me are super intimidating, and truth be told, are often considered typically male dominated territory.
The woman wields power tools like no one else I know (and thankfully has helped me with many home projects!) and isn't afraid to knock down walls, rebuild them, and put them back up all by herself. She is an engineer and freaking mathematical genius! When I met her she was a bridge engineer (how many people do you know that you can drive down the road with and have them casually point out - oh, hey, I designed that bridge over there... WHAT?!?!?! SO COOL!!!!!) and has since moved up in the world to oversee massive construction efforts in our state on major highways!! (now you know who to blame for all those construction traffic delays, ha!) I love to think of her waltzing (or perhaps more accurately...salsa-ing) her way out of her bad-ass construction truck, with her officious deldot hat on, clipboard in hand, dolling out commands to all of the construction workers! Whether or not she does, I also like to imagine her sass-ily sassing people!
I also remember one night, I came over and she cooked me up some delicious enchiladas (an amazing cook on top of all this), and we talked about her job and all of the challenges she had to over come. Because let's be real she IS in a man's world! While the tide is changing, she was still one of the very few engineering majors in her class, and even of of the fewer bridge engineers in her job, and even FEWER female AND latina engineers on the job.
I honestly don't even have the words to convey how much I respect and love Susan. Not only is she a bad-ass in her job, but she (for awhile, before she had her baby - a beautiful baby girl!) tutored kids in math and SAT prep. And salsa danced?!?! And is an amazing friend???? Like.... yeah. Such an amazing person on literally every level. She has been there for me so many times on so many levels. I am so grateful to Susan for everything that she is, and everything that she brings to the world.
I can think of NO better role model for the next generation of kids out there - what an amazing example of what you can achieve and who you can be, despite all of the odds against you.
I love ya Susan, and thank you for being you!!!!
About the painting:
This work actually originated as a coloring book drawing, for my collaborative coloring book, A Portrait of Delaware. I then started working on a series of collaborative paintings/artworks of people that I know who are creating the change that they want to see in the world, and I could think of no better example than Susan. She isn't consciously setting the world on fire, she is simply following her passions, but by doing so is creating a role model for other women to follow in her footsteps. I love the idea of riffing off of the Dick and Jane readers that so many of us learned from when we were small children. These educational readers were great - if you were white and heteronormative. They set the standard not only for how to read but for societal expectations. Even today, there are still relatively few children's books that focus on the experiences of the "other." I like the idea of usurping this format for modern day experiences that can touch and resonate with a larger group of people, and help set a new norm through a collaborate approach with people from more diverse walks of life. Keep your eyes open for more of these works to come 😉
Exhibition Info:
The exhibition, curated by Jen Hintz Eggers and Rebecca Howell, features emerging female-identifying and non-binary artists participating in group storytelling. Space will be held for the voices and stories of those often relegated to secondary roles in patriarchal society and traditional gallery structures. The story an artist wishes to share and the manner in which they tell it is their choice. These stories will be shown, heard, honored, and revered in this space.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Anxiety vs. Figure Drawing: Who Will Win?

Anyone who is close to me knows that I deal with some pretty high anxiety, even though the face most familiar to people is that of the enthusiastic, perennially happy and upbeat version of myself. Unfortunately, living with anxiety is not unique to me. So many people in my life, both adult and student, suffer similarly. And it often has no rhythm or reason as to when it might strike, even in the most unlikely of situations - such as an artist/art teaching going to a figure drawing session...

Consider that I have been teaching art, on and off, since 1999, have six years of high level art education under my belt, and I recently won a major award.... And yet...and yet.... something as simple as going to a figure drawing class has the ability to get under my skin, when drawing is for me, like breathing! I love it, always, unconditionally. And yet...

          1-5 minute poses

Anxiety, for me, is typically triggered by anything that feels "new" or "unfamiliar", whether this pertains to people, places, or activities. And thus is struck today (and really, it started last night, because, you know, worrying is best done well in advance, ha!) I haven't attended a formal figure drawing session in possibly close to three years, so it falls easily into the category of "unfamiliar" at the moment. What if I got lost on the way and arrived late? What if I was terrible and people noticed? Who would be there? What if there weren't enough seats? How would I arrange my art materials? All of these questions and more ran through my head. 

And yet....

           10-20 minute poses

I did go, and I'm so glad! This may seem like a small victory, but every time we go up against those fears, as small and irrational as they may be, pat yourself on the back and be proud of the small wins! In the end it was a great two hours, I feel super pumped (and apparently in the sharing kind of mood) and plan to attend every month. FYI - it was at the Delaware Contemporary, every third Saturday from 10am-12. It's run by Jenna Lucente, an amazing local artist (check out her work at,) and the museum is well worth a visit. I may not have produced my best figure drawings ever, but everyone was so welcoming and it felt so good to stretch my life drawing muscles again!

For those of you who would like to go to a figure drawing session, but are feeling a little intimidated, let me know and I will be your hype woman! You typically start with several one minute poses to get warmed up, then a few five minute, some tens, and then you end with some 20 minute poses. It is a great way to get those drawing hours in and really up your game!

What are some of the anxieties that you face that you have overcome lately? The more we share our experiences, the stronger we will become!