All Roads Lead Home

Turn Left for Tamales. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 inches, 2016 by Sarah Atlee. Learn more at Part of the Glitch Still Life series created for exhibition at Cerulean Gallery, Amarillo, Texas.Turn Left for Tamales Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 inches, 2016 by Sarah Atlee. $1,080 For purchase inquiries, contact Cerulean Gallery at 214.564.1199.

This post also appears on my Patreon page.

I would like to thank the fine folks at Cerulean Gallery for hosting my paintings these last few weeks; I'm honored to be working with you. I would also like to thank my Patreon patrons for your ongoing support - you guys are the best!

Want to get art in the mail? Here's where you go for that.

Home. It's a nebulous concept. Is it the place you're from? Where you live now? Some intangible combination of everywhere you've been?

I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They don't call it the Land of Enchantment for nothing; it's a place that stays with you. And nothing tells you that you've come back quite like a plate of hot, home-cooked tamales.

Turn Left for Tamales is inspired by the food I ate last time I was at Ghost Ranch, another one of those places that really gets into you. Just like our memories, the image is fragmented, distorted, seems to bleed around the edges. Like the idea of home.

I'm living in a different place than I was when I started the Glitch series. I'm in Oklahoma now, the place where I was born, the place where I will always be able to go. I didn't know how much it would feel like home until I came back. I don't know what home is right now. I'm looking for it inside myself. But I know I'm on the right road. I can smell the tamales.

Turn Left for Tamales is available at Cerulean Gallery as part of the exhibition On Edge Part I, featuring work by Sarah Atlee, Fritz Danner, Nic Noblique, and Victoria Taylor-Gore, on display 16 September – 28 October 2016. Visit Cerulean Gallery to learn more.

Deep-cleaning the Studio, Part 2

I've been away from the easel for the past several months on a self-directed quilting sabbatical. Now that it's 2016, I'm back into painting mode. I have a big exhibition coming up this fall, so I needed to get my painting space back in order. Read part 1 here. clean shelves 2 500

First up, cleaning the shelf units that hold up my worktables.

clean shelves 1 500

A dust-free place for everything.

index card box 500

Index cards, indexed by type AND size. It's who I am.

in transition 1 500

In transition, taking the workspace apart...

in transition 2 500

Ready for the nasty dust pics? Here they come.

dust closeup 2 500


dust closeup 1 500


dust closeup 3 500


The horror. The horror.

But things got all better.

clean lines 500


ready to work 500

Ready to work at my workspace.

paint box 500

Let's do some painting!

You may also enjoy: Prescription for an Installation Tools I Use: My Favorite Pens

Deep-cleaning the Studio, Part 1

It's a new year! And I've got a lot to work on in 2016. Time to properly clean the studio. Mostly that means dusting. But I'd also like to reduce the general visual clutter in here. Smooth out the lines, if you will. Quiet environment, quiet mind.

Quiet cupboard, quiet mind.

That little sign says "Bad painting is better than no painting at all."

Quiet bookshelf, quiet mind.

Does anything collect dust quite like books? Oh, yeah, wooden bookshelves do.

For the first time, I've organized my books by size rather than subject. Smoothing out the lines. However subjects are still organized by shelf.

From the top.

Genre fiction, skewed toward science fiction & fantasy, plus books I loved as a kid. Bingo & Yahtzee are here too.

bookshelf middle

General fiction, poetry, essays & memoirs, travel, reference. Yes I put Ready Player One in general fiction and not with the sci-fi. Don't judge.

bookshelf quilting

Strange bedfellows, or perfectly happy ones?

A deep and endless ocean.

Graphic arts, a brief stop in Southwest American & Spanish Colonial art, on to Modern & Contemporary.

Down where the heavyweights live.

Quiet bookshelf, quiet active mind. Ahh.


Now on to things like ...this.

See how it all turned out.

It's the Little Things - In Gratitude, Part 4

It's November, home of my favorite holiday! This month I'm spending a few minutes each day writing about something for which I am thankful. Batch number four is The Little Things. Food

Friday night food truckin'. Friday night food truckin'.

Most people come to Austin for the live music and mild winters. I'm here for the food. Fresh sushi, succulent barbecue, farm-to-table delicacies galore, and more taco trucks than you can twang a steel guitar at. Heaven has a zip code, and it starts with 787.


Our apartment is situated in the corner of a courtyard, on the ground level. When it rains even just a little, the downspout off the building's roof empties right outside our patio. It's like our own private waterfall.

Fun fact: Lots of Texans (and other folks) are grateful for the rain.

Getting Rid of Stuff

Always feels good.

Life's Surprises

Bourbon Red Heritage turkey from Richardson Farms.

We celebrated our turkey day a week early by cooking a beautiful bird from Richardson Farms. The next morning, I awoke to a cold lodged in my chest. Oh, if only I'd had a big pot of homemade broth already on the sto- WAIT A MINUTE.

Opening the Windows

Fresh breeze in the studio is a luxury I get to enjoy on occasion - not in July, but often in October.


mmm donuts

For when a deadline approaches and you need twelve sugar rushes in three days.

Just Being

Sit with me a moment. Still your hands. Breathe in, then out. Close your eyes and do it again. Isn't this nice?

Neck Pillow, sketchbook drawing by Sarah Atlee. Neck Pillow, sketchbook drawing by Sarah Atlee.

What are you thankful for? Express your gratitude in the comments below.

Read Coffee, Sleep, Paper - In Gratitude, Part 1 Read Boundaries, Bracelets, and Biz Coaches - In Gratitude, Part 2 Read Monkeys, Quilts, and Toilet Art - In Gratitude, Part 3 Read Bonus Gratitude!

Monkeys, Quilts, and Toilet Art - In Gratitude, Part 3

It's November, home of my favorite holiday! This month I'm spending a few minutes each day writing about something for which I am thankful. Batch number three. Color!

The Crayon-Bow Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010 The Crayon-Bow Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010. Click image to view source in its original interactive glory.

I may have a touch of synaesthesia, because I want to treat the above chart like a mix between a koto and the wallpaper from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Seeing Art in Person

Austin art lovers after an evening out, November 2014 Austin art lovers enjoying an evening out.

Anyone who's been in an art history class will have heard a professor bemoan the fact that we learn about art by looking at slides, textbooks, and, horror of horrors, the Internet. Now I don't think these media (or the professors) should be thrown into the sea. But experiencing a work of art in person really is a horse of a different color.

I live in a place where I have a lot of opportunity to do just that. I recently attended Art Night EAST, a special preview event for the annual East Austin Studio Tour.

Living With Art

I have seven pieces of art in my bathroom. I have seven pieces installed in my bathroom.

Artists don't just make art - we're collectors, too. My art collection began with small pieces given as gifts or in trade with my fellow art students. It has grown to include significant purchases and even commissions.

You know what I love? Going to someone's house and seeing art in their bathroom. Think about it - how many rooms in your home do you use every day without fail? If my art ends up over a collector's toilet or kitchen sink, my heart swells because I know that person wants to look at it every single day.

pretty in pink photo by romy owens

Pretty In Pink, photographic print by romy owens. Three guesses where this one hangs.

The Austin Modern Quilt Guild

You may know that when I'm not painting, I'm quilting. After moving to Austin, I googled local quilting groups and discovered the Austin chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. I didn't know it yet, but I was already a modern quilter!

The AMQG deserves a whole post just to list all the cool things they do. I'll just say that I'm eagerly anticipating QuiltCon.

Seeing Artists at Work

Palette Peelin's Palette Peelins.

Imagine a masterpiece, centuries old, on a pedestal at a museum. It looks as though it appeared there by magic. We don't get to see all the mistakes the artist ever made before they got that one right. Unless the artist lets us peek behind the curtain.


Whenever I get to see the inside of an artist's studio or sketchbook, I know I'm learning something.

Art Blogs

The power of the Internet as a tool of communication still amazes me. It's my primary source for new contemporary art, and historical art that's new to me. If you'd like to start reading some excellent art blogs, I recommend Beautiful Decay, Illustration Art, Lines and Colors, Bibliodyssey, Robert Lange Studios, and especially:

The Near-Sighted Monkey

Do you know Lynda Barry? Wow. I mean, she's just so awesome. Want to learn things about creativity, drawing, writing, comics, and yourself? Follow along at The Near-Sighted Monkey. Barry has also published a handful of books, all of which I recommend.

What are you thankful for? Express your gratitude in the comments below.

Read Coffee, Sleep, Paper - In Gratitude, Part 1 Read Boundaries, Bracelets, and Biz Coaches - In Gratitude, Part 2 Read It's the Little Things - In Gratitude, Part 4 Read Bonus Gratitude!