The Art and Craft of S. B. Appel


Big 500 Show 2016 @ the Ford Building

I’m one of the artist-volunteers helping to hang artwork for the Big 500 show, this year at the Ford building on SE Division (near Genies cafe’ and across the street from the Independent Publishing Resource Center). It’s only been about three hours, and we already have over half the building covered in art! 

If you aren’t familiar with the show, it’s cash and carry, all pieces $40 each, and all pieces were created especially for the show. They’re show in “random order”, so even though some of the work is by collectible local artists, you won’t be able to know whose piece is whose until you look on the back of the work. Thus, each piece stands on its own merits.

Having gotten such positive feedback since last year, I’m continuing in what I may turn into an annual holiday tradition, and hanging “light panels” featuring LED lights that can be switched on and off from the back of the work. 

This year, I experimented with using copper wire, tissue paper and acrylic gel to create the translucent “lanterns”. The effects are resilient and show off the light to good effect. A magical happening during the art making process, was that the copper wire oxidized during the drying process- so the framework shows a little bit of verdigris patina through the tissue. I kind of like it myself 🙂

I hope you can come and check out the show, opening tomorrow, Dec. 10th, 2 to about 10pm. I’ll be there! And if you show up later in the evening, you might be in for an extra treat out back in the parking lot…. 

Art Party @ The Crimson Lotus

I’m stoked about the new album I came home with a few weeks ago, from Production Unit Xero (aka Ramon Mills)x with cover art by Tara Cochrane. The collage art and the smoky, minimalistic ambient music on the album are all original and unique, part of a limited-edition set, each with a different song mix and design. 

I got it at an Art Party, where a number of Tara Cochrane’s visionary/mythological/Goddess-inspired canvases were on display.

It was held at The Crimson Lotus, which has replaced Baowry Bagel, the former inhabitant of a turn-of-the-century stone house in St. Johns, right across from the Safeway on one side, & the McMenamin’s on another.  

They have tasty food at The Crimson Lotus (the Rat Burger is a favorite item); a variety of drinks including absinthe, and monthly offerings, such as the Art Party. This featured a live performance from Production Unit Xero and several other local talents. The intimate space was also home to a Tarot reader, as well as a cozy backyard burn barrel with loveseat. 

On another night, there was a dance party in the basement, featuring a DJ from Seattle spinning Deep Acid House & psytrance. 

It’s ventures such as these, and new offerings such as the revamped Pigeon Studio near by, that cause me to have faith that the positive creative vibe in St. Johns is still alive and well. I was struck by the local enthusiasm for sophisticated music, good food, and friendly, mutual community support a while back- and pleased to see it grow and develop.

Now as the season turns to rainy October, and I am more drawn to spending time indoors at my desk, by the fireplace, I can keep the magic of that evening going by playing the album from that evening, offered generously at a “pay what you will” donation, and extend that vibe into the future, as I dream up my own contributions to come. 

NoFest in St. Johns 

John Barbera at Proper Eats

Come visit St. Johns this evening and experience a slice of local music and art, NoPo style! There will be a variety of performances, the bulk of them happening from 5pm-9 (but many will run later) in a variety of locations throughout downtown St. Johns. Too many to list here, but expect to see performances by groups such as Nasalrod, Michael Manning, the Mini Blinds, and much more. 

You can pick up a program at Proper Eats cafe’, check out some of the bands, and see my current art show that’s hanging together with some awesome Animal Icon art from a group of our local talented home schoolers (all proceeds from sales of their Icon art goes to benefit World Wildlife Fund, by the way. Just sayin’.)

It’ll be guaranteed fun- but even if you can’t make it out tonight, be sure to visit my paintings at the Cafe’ by the end of this month, because I’ll be making way for a new show in October. Many thanks to James & the Proper Eats crew for being one of the best (and longest-running) art shows I’ve had thus far! 

Lightboxes at Goodfoot Last Thursday August 2016

I Am Therefore I Think

I will have a set of 3 new works up at the next art exhibit at the Goodfoot in SE Portland! Opening this coming Thursday, August 25th, upstairs lounge & pool room open 5pm-2:30am.

The “I Am, Therefore I Think” show will feature original works from artists all across the Portland Metro area, and will serve as a platform for creative sociopolitical, subjective/personal, expressive, and diverse commentary, questioning/challenging, and observation.

I’m excited to participate in this show, as I had been strongly affected by the ongoing shooting tragedies going on in the news over this past summer, and have been trying to come up with a creative response to the thoughts, fears and feelings that recent events had left me with. I had been encouraging those around me to do the same.

Art and creative expression can be powerfully healing, eye-opening, & transformative in the wake of tragedy, horror and the distresses of life. I haven’t been the only one, now or historically speaking, to try and find a way to process world events and personal experiences through art making. It is the basis of what I believe, and have come to know, both through direct, personal experience, through making my own work, as well as fostering and witnessing the creative works of others.

What I wound up envisioning, takes a nod from my parents’ era and the formation of art commentarists such as Leon Golub, Anselm Kiefer, Jenny Holzer, Andy Warhol and the like- but in this instance,  it turns the 1950’s habit of “world culture” appropriation & exploitation on its head.

I was easily able to find some images of Adinkra, or West African cultural symbols, online. I can’t help but appreciate the almost-too-simple convenience of being able to get this info directly from an African blogger and peace activist who’s kindly made these resources freely available to the public, along with clear descriptions of the meanings they hold:

“Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Ashanti of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. They represent concepts or aphorisms, and are extensively used in fabrics, pottery, logos and advertising.

The symbols have a decorative function but also represent objects that encapsulate evocative messages that convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment.” – Mawuna Remarque Kotounin,

From the list of symbols, I chose three which I felt represented a healing energy & commentary that could be displayed & enacted through the use of transforming them into illuminated art pieces on display. These three certainly aren’t the only ones that have such potential, but given just how many symbols I had to pick from, it provided me the luxury of fine-tuning what I wanted the artworks to convey to the viewer.

This has led to a light box series that focuses on the specific meaning of each symbol:

God Never Dies litebox web.jpg

“NYAME NNWU NA MAWU- God Never Dies, Therefore I Cannot Die”- Mixed Media on Canvas Board, 2016


As I constructed the pieces, I noticed that the way the LED light hits the front of the piece- normally a frustrating part of the process for me to try and mitigate- actually enhances the “message” of the work in this case:


The Adinkrahene

‘“I am the King, and everything comes from me, everything shall return to me. I link you with everything. Your actions affect others, no matter wherever you are. Your thoughts influence others, therefore watch over your mind. Think positively, constructively and scientifically.”

Chief of the Adinkra Symbols Symbol of greatness, charisma and leadership. This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. it signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.

This is a symbol of the waves of thought impulses. You are in the middle of The One Life, the Life that permeates the whole Universe. This is a wonderful opportunity offered you to positively identify yourself with Universal Mind, with the Ultimate Source of Life.”‘- Queen Nzinga Maxwell

… I love it when things come together like this!

I hope you can drop by the Goodfoot this coming Thursday evening, or any evening this coming month, to check out “I Am, Therefore I Think” & see all three of my pieces on display. May they shine a little light out into the world. I hope to explore and expand further with the light box series- stay tuned for future offerings!









SE Makers Market This Weekend

I will be showing some of my small original art pieces, as well as some jewelry and vintage/collectibles at the SE Makers Market this Saturday! If you’re out and about this weekend in SE be sure to stop on by!  

Print On Demand Now Available

Hi folks, I just signed up with to provide you with quality fine art prints, posters, greeting cards, and more- all featuring prints of my original work.

You can see my profile page on Artflakes here.

They are one of the few art print services that will identify purchasers to me, the person generating the content, which is valuable to me, a woman running a small art business who would like to build a customer base from positive community relations- not just as a nameless content producer online.

And right now, I am motivated to grow that business- so if you would and could, please take a look, try the site out, make a purchase or two, and help me get some real world feedback on the service! Also don’t forget to “like” work as I put up images you might enjoy, share with others, and leave me some (hopefully constructive) comments on my Artflakes profile! You will definitely receive my undying appreciation. For extra devoted fans, I might even throw in a freebie 🙂

Any experience with using Print On Demand services that you’ve found helpful? Feel free to comment on this post and share your experiences, good bad or otherwise.




The Constitutional


Here is the poster for this weekend’s Constitutional art party in St. Johns, 9am-2pm. Vendors in Cathedral Park plus a number of other fun activities. Make sure to drop by Proper Eats Market & CafĂ© if you visit, and see my show currently up in the dining and front window areas!