Ghost paintingI took down Interact this past week at 3rd Street Gallery and was pleased with the success of it. I feel that it was exactly what I wanted it to be in terms of the work, the concepts and the presentation – a rare delight that I will remember. Much of the work sold, but there are still some pieces available on my portfolio site.

Now that I’ve taken a little rest for my thoughts to settle and return to a place of making, I’m excited to get back in the studio and do some drawings. I have been wanting to continue with the kite drawings, along with working on some paintings using some additional scraps. And those chalkboard – ghosty paintings (see above)…  oh and then there is the wood scraps out on the back patio… ohh and that piece of a door I picked up out of someone’s trash last week. And then I was reminded about Judy Pfaff. So there’s that to think about as well. I guess there are some things to work on…


With the my solo show coming up super fast the studio (house, yard) is getting a little bit crazy. It’s nice to take a moment and just take a few photos of the work areas – these are the spaces I love being in.

The November show is coming up fast – get all the details here:
Heather Riley Interact
Heather Riley Interact details

There is a lot in my work that is about tension, space, density and relation between objects and people. Recently I have been looking at past work and realizing that I really have been exploring these issues for nearly ten years. The work drifts a bit, but the core of it always holds tight to these themes. I find the way we as people fill space, whether it be by cars on a road or with silence, something is always there. Filling or leaving us wanting.

I Wish We Could Speak by Heather Riley

I Wish We Could Speak
7.75 x 5.5 x 1.75 inches
Oil and found wood on panel


Saturday in Lima by Heather Riley

Saturday in Lima
20.5 x 12 x 1.75
Oil, wood floorboard on panel

There has been plenty of work happening in the studio this past month. It’s always reassuring when the work gets into a bad place and then I eventually can get it out. Some works often have to be taken apart, painted over, or partially destroyed in order to move forward, but I have accepted this as part of the process. Both 328 (60 x 24 inches) and Witnesses (48 x 30 inches) below have gone through several lives and are finally settling into themselves. Balloons at Night (30 x 22 inches) always knew what it would be -and that happens sometimes too. All of the works below are still in progress.

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I’ve been busy in the past months making plenty of work and finally getting my studio site up and running. Check it out at

I’ve continued with the wood pieces that I started making in February, and they have lead to other work of course. After a trip to Lima, I returned home to find that most of my work has been dealing with density and space. Here is a little slideshow showing the work in progress in the studio right now:

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I have been picking up wood in my neighborhood – in the street, in the park. Wood that appeals to me is both organic (retaining some of it’s natural properties) and changed by human hands. These pieces are from a tree that was cut down with a chain saw in a park by my house. I found them both beautiful and fearsome – aggressive and small.

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approximately 6 x 10 x 3 inches

I have started making these drawings – and will be making several more. They are teaching me some things…

Process Drawing One by Heather Riley, a local Philadelphia artist

Process Drawing Two by Heather Riley, local Philadelphia artist

A painting that I’m working on. A friend of mine told me that it starts angry and ends angry – which is true in terms of the process. This painting is in process…

Then and Now by Heather Riley, local Philadelphia artist

Then and Now
Mixed media on canvas
60 x 30 inches

Arrival by Heather Riley, local Philadelphia artist

I’ve been painting and creating a lot in the past weeks – after dealing with the flu, I’m finally able to be back to the blog. I have been exploring different materials, different approaches and letting myself play more in the studio. I go through cycles it seems – where making work can be difficult, restricted and tedious — to just playing around with every possibility. The latter is where I am now, and I am grateful for it after a long few months of the tedious. I’m going to put up several short posts to get caught up – and just show the work. Here is one to start.

Oil on Canvas
8 x 16 inches

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