You've perused the project summaries from Season 3's artists, but you still have questions or you just want to talk to these fabulous artists, then it's time for you to meet the artists.

Meet the Artists of PDX-CSA Season 3. See their artwork and ask them questions about their projects. Light refreshments will be served in the 2nd floor lounge.

PDX-CSA allows the public to purchase artwork at the concept stage and follow updates as the artists complete the art. Pre-sales fund the creation of the new artwork, on sale through April 16th or until they sell out, with each artist producing no more than twelve pieces for a project. 

For Season Three, PDX-CSA presents proposals for new art projects from ten artists. The artists are grouped into five pairings. The artist teams collaborated on ideas in order to achieve a pairing of work that complements one another thematically or stylistically. 

The artists will be present at this event with representative artworks and will be available for questions about their projects. The PDX-CSA team will be available for any questions about the program generally.


Earlier this year, I was invited to participate in the PDX-CSA program. The spirit of it is why I agreed: it offers affordably-priced original artwork at the concept stage, meant to encourage aspiring and nascent art collectors to invest (their reward being not only the finished art, but following along as the artists create the work), while offering artists a measure of financial security for their project yet preserving their creative autonomy (unlike most private commissions).

The individual projects are all priced at $175 or less, while “pairings” (related yet independent work by two simpatico artists) offer the opportunity to purchase two projects at a small (around 10%) discount: an instant collection.

I proposed small gouache pantings, in the manner of the Polygons series, focused around Portland’s Forest Park. $175 is probably the least anyone will ever pay for one of my original paintings, making the individual buy a great deal – and the pairing with Alyson Provax even better. I’ve long admired her work, and I’m thrilled by the chance to share ideas, influences, and hikes through our famed city wilderness.

Pre-buy now through April 16.


A selection of Instagram posts depicting the trajectory shifts of Thérèse's CSA project:

--> deadline pivot from the horizontal + other experimental shape-making... in a good way.

the commission press is its own planet of needs and wants and I landed here (for now; still time...). and so: tonight's open lookg on the latest iterations for the special super summer project for the @pdxcsa.

more (yes you) soon

late nite snap all up on one of eight @pdxcsa.

w love + thx for yr good lookg on the lines + shapes. here + w me.

still summer.
more soon.

another one of eight @pdxcsa.
it got hot again in #pdx (still summer).

unexpectedly epic convos today w several beloveds (money. freedom. hope. beauty. travel. and: taking care of hearts.). one fav even called out of the blue on the tele- part of the -phone. #oldskool

otherwise: taking in yr every good lookg + word on the work these days. it matters.

more soon. 

got a bee in my bonnet or i might just b(ee) keepg the @pdxcsa collectors in suspense.

in any case, lots on my admin plate these days so I made nine more things.

destination stay tuned.

thx for yr good lookg + w me (always).


--> inside baseball: green series made for @pdxcsa (see earlier posts) filed under 'perfectly fine experiment on way to final-final'

bc I love a redux. deep-dove for one more intensive make(out)-session right before deadline. sometimes 24 hrs is a lifetime in paintland.

off to collectors before I cld look close IRL, so I'll do it here + w you. 


full on one of eight final-finals 20"x15" on paper for @pdxcsa.

already out to collectors so I'm lookg on them bit longer here + w you.



THERESE MURDZA - finishing touches

hello dear all --

tonight i'm putting the last finishing touches on y/our artwork.

see below: a process wall of sketchbook pages wherein i prototyped (protoshaped) ideas that inspired the project along the way. also: green!

i'm eager to show you the finals + soon. 

if you're PDX-local, maybe we'll *see you at the closing/delivery party. otherwise, we've arranged to ship the work or connect with you another way. 

your investment made this handmade art possible. thank you.

still summer!


Hey Beautiful People!

I'm back for a quick update on my pieces for the Graft series, part of the PDX-CSA that's connected to Portland Open Studios, in which I'm also participating!

As you will recall, my series is a made up from several different woods, all scrap from other larger projects. Here's a little insight into the woods that will be in these sculptures:

Starting at the top and base, we have some black walnut. This beautiful wood is the bane of a gardener's existence if they're trying to grow vegetables nearby. The tree makes the soil around it quite acidic, and people like me sad. I actually have a large English Walnut in my backyard, with which I have a love/hate relationship. On a hot summer's day, it knocks at least ten degrees off of my studio. It's beautiful to look at. It's a lot of cleanup. But I still love it.

The second wood down is a hard maple that was part of a cutting board.

The third down from the top is Peltogyne, more commonly known as purpleheart. It's a common exotic wood found in Central and South America. Below that is Zebrawood, found in the same part of the world. I love being able to buy these two woods in small scrap and using them minimally in projects like these.

The light colored wood at the bottom is a birch--a very common and easy to work with wood. I like how the bright tan stands out and highlights the little round balls that I randomly embedded in the surface.

BETSY LEVINE - Making Choices

For some artists, creating nine pieces of original art in two months is a breeze.  They work on multiple paintings at once, creating layers on one piece and then switching to another while the first painting dries.  Their hands move fast and intuitively, and after a relatively short amount of time (maybe 3-10 painting sessions? I don't know, I'm making that part up) they have a completed and often gorgeous body of work.  

Honestly, while I absolutely love my own painting process, I'm sometimes jealous of those painters.  They can create more material in less time, and there is less riding on each piece of art both because there are more total pieces and because they work in layers, so they can cover up the parts that don't work for them.  

While I have actually been told that I paint relatively quickly for an oil painter I sometimes feel like I'm plodding along at the pace of a banana slug.   Depending on the level of detail of the particular painting I'm working on, I use brushes ranging from tiny to, um, small-medium.  

I actually feel really blessed to have work commissioned on a time limit, like the pieces for my PDX-CSA collectors, because I am forced to make relatively quick decisions in order to balance QUALITY of work with TIME EFFICIENCY.  Because frankly, I'm getting paid 75% of my asking price per piece (so, each piece was $140, which means I get $105 per piece, which comes out to anywhere between $8 and $20 per hour on these pieces, depending on how much time I spend on any individual piece.  The percentage in this case is actually very generous when working through a third party like PDXCSA....most galleries take 40%-50%) and my goal is to work as quickly as possible with as much artistic integrity as possible so that I can make art that I love AND a living wage at the same time.  Yum, cake.             

Here are a few of the choices I have made so far during this project:


For my sixth piece I chose, despite a nagging voice at the back of my mind telling me "Beautiful picture but toooooo many details!!! Turn away!", to paint a lovely and intricate piece of red kale on the signature wood grain background that I have been using.  About halfway through painting just the leaf of the kale and realizing that I was about 5 hours in, heading towards, oh, a 12-15 hour painting (so like....$5 an hour?) I made the bold (for me) decision to skip the wood grain in the background of the painting to save time.

This is scary for me, as I spent much of my young artist-hood convinced that I wasn't truly an artist because I couldn't create art straight from my head.  I solved that particular roadblock by realizing that if I took and edited my own photographs and painted from THEM, it still felt like real true art.  But to change a painting deliberately from the photograph is still a bit terrifying to me.  Luckily, I jumped into this pool of fear with my snorkeling mask and a super-hot bathing suit and came out the other side not only unscathed, but with what I think is actually a BETTER and less busy painting than I would have gotten had I included the wood grain.  

Here is the photo and the painting side by side (which I don't normally show you, because it is NOT my tendency to really care at all if the proportions of the painting are anything like the photo and I get a little embarrassed sometimes when a viewer sees them side by side, but....f*ck it, I've survived the pool of fear):


By far the quickest paintings I have made (two so far) are those of this one absolutely adorable tomato that I got in my CSA share a few weeks ago.  It's a beautifully intriguing shape, vibrant color, and perfect size for painting.  I love the way the paintings have turned out (artistic integrity) AND I love the fact that they are relatively fast to paint (time efficiency).  The only thing that has stopped me from making a third painting of this tomato is that, well, I value variety and it felt for a moment like a cop out to choose to paint it AGAIN.  

However, after going through all of my favorite photos I've taken so far (artistic integrity), they have each made my heart beat wildly with anxiety based on the amount of tiny little details that I would have to paint to create a pieces based on those photos (time efficiency).  Then today, when I finished the Kale painting (finally), a gorgeous voice in my heart/brain reminded me that each of these paintings are going to different people and EACH of them would be so happy to own a painting of that tomato.  So I used my super powers to dissolve the other voice (the one that was saying 'But you said you were going to document your CSA and so far you have painted two pictures of the same strawberry and now THREE of the same tomato?!?!  FRAUD!") and am about to embark on said third painting.  
And you know what?  Three people will benefit from this choice:  
1. The recipient of this third tomato painting, who will be so happy not to have a crappy-but-more-detailed painting in their hands instead,
2. The fetus who lives inside my belly, who will now spend more hours basking in happiness hormones and fewer hours being zapped by my anxiety, and
3. Me.  For the same reasons as the fetus.  

Here are the three original tomato photos that I will be painting.  See all that lovely smoooooooothe baby-butt tomato surface, compared to the gorgeous elderly-hand-like texture of the kale leaf above?  Whew:

3. And finally, THE REJECTS:

Here are a few of the photos that I would oh my goodness love to paint if I had either the powers to stop actual time OR the grandiosity to charge way more for my paintings, therefore making it financially worth it to do so.  Feel free to offer me lots of money to paint you one of these <wink>


Every Wednesday after I pick up my Winter Green Farm CSA I select a few veggies and fruits that I am particularly drawn to paint.  For this project I am looking for subjects that can stand alone in a painting successfully and that don't have a bazillion little tiny details that will take hours and hours to paint (although that is not ALWAYS the case).  From there, I:

1. Do a photo shoot.  I use a basic Cannon EOS with the zoom lens that came with it.  I have a table on my porch that I found on the sidewalk one day outside of  a restaurant on Alberta.  The wood is kind of warped but it has such a beautiful grain that it's hard for me to consider ever getting rid of it, even if it's not the best for eating on....I love it as a background for my photos!  I take lots of photos from many angles, then pick my favorites and upload them to my computer.

 2. Edit photos in Lightroom.  I took a basic 'how to use Lightroom' class from Newspace, which taught me how to edit and organize my photos in Adobe Lightroom, and I love love love it.  When I edit I don't change much, just play a little with color and contrast.  I often boost the color to what I like and then de-saturate it a little, because when I translate it to paint in later stages the colors come out looking much brighter than they do on the screen.    

Here is a photo of a tomato before and after editing:

3. Sketch the image onto my pre-gessoed wood panel.   I'm actually the one gessoing it, I purchase my custom-made panels from Art Substrates and I recommend you do the same.  They're beautiful and sturdy and locally made.  I then purchase acrylic gesso and apply two layers, letting them dry and sanding in between.   Then I pull up my edited photo in Lightroom and draw the image on by eye and in pencil, lightly.  I use only one layer of paint so if I draw the sketch too dark it will show through.  On this panel I, um, spilled something.  As is my tendency.  It'll be fiiiiiiine.  (Seriously, it won't show through).  

4. Paint the image. I am probably an art teacher's nightmare because I don't paint in layers at all.  I do exactly what they taught you not to do in art school, probably because I never went to art school.  I usually start somewhere in the upper left corner of the painting, unless the focus is very obviously elsewhere.  I do that partly for practical reasons....I'm a righty, and I wont have to contort my arms into crazy positions to make sure that the paint doesn't mistakenly smudge.  I think radiate outwards from my starting point (or, in the case of this tomato, I radiate in a spiral because that's the natural shape the tomato makes). I use tiny little brushes and very little paint, compared to most oil painters.   Yogurt container lids for palettes, hooray for saving money and recycling at the same time!  My hands are in gloves while I paint these days because I've got a little baby in my belly and there are heavy metals in the paint, so I want to protect my skin and therefore my baby (and don't worry, I'm not using any solvents at all.  I use Water Mixable Oil Paints, which is an oxymoron I cant explain but I can take advantage of.  I learned on them and love them, they clean with soap and water.   

Here is the progression that this tomato made in about three hours (most paintings aren't this quick, but the tomato is particularly lacking in minute little details that take up the most time)

I haven't finished that painting yet, but I do tend to paint the background last, another no-no in art school (I'm obviously a huge rebel).  I do take great pains to make sure that the foreground and the background look natural together and blend into each other well.  Otherwise the painting looks really fake, which is a problem for many artists who paint from photographs.   They look flat.  Hopefully mine don't?  I've been told they don't. 

This is a different tomato that I painted, but I wanted you to see what a finished tomato painting looks like:


hello dear all -- 

i get to make art for you! and i'm excited.

work on this special summer project will begin in earnest in August, and i'll send you images along the way. if you're PDX-local, i'll also *see you at the closing/delivery party Aug 27.

in the meantime, here is an image of recent pages from my open sketchbook: some of what i'm thinking about these days and how i'm prospecting those ideas. these particular shape-makings? they *may influence our project + we'll see as we go. please stay tuned. more soon.

and: know that your investment makes handmade art possible. thank you.