Friday, December 20, 2013

Website Update

Image courtesy of HallSpace

I just updated my website with images of all my 2013 paintings and a few install shots of my current solo exhibition. These paintings are on view in By Way of Bangkok at HallSpace through January 25th.

See you soon alligator,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Bea Modisett
By Way of Bangkok
December 7th - January 25th
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 7th 3:00 - 6:00pm
950 Dorcester Avenue Boston MA 02125
Thoughts of Kith and Kin, oil on canvas over panel, 2013. 16" x 20"

"By Way of Bangkok" features the paintings Modisett has created since March 2013 when she returned from an extended solo backpacking journey through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma.

Bea Modisett received her BFA in painting from Montserrat College of Art in 2007. She received fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, and Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, Georgia. Modisett has exhibited at the Kingston Gallery, Boston, Endicott College Center for the Arts, Beverly, HallSpace, Boston, Decordova Museum and Sculpture Parks, Lincoln, and many other venues throughout New England. Bea Modisett was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Find this on Facebook! Hope to see you.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interview with Temporary Land Bridge

I was very happy to collaborate with Temporary Land Bridge over the past few weeks to put together this interview. Head over to the site and check out some new work/words.



Upcoming Exhibition: By Way of Bangkok

The Steady, Quiet, Plodding Ones. 16" x 20" Oil on canvas over panel. 2013.

Hi All, 

Sorry for the crickets as of late. I am working non-stop in preparation for my upcoming solo show By Way of Bangkok at HallSpace (Boston, MA). I just wanted to drop by and let you know I am alive and kicking! Above is a painting that will be featured in the exhibition. 

See you soon, I promise,

PS - I got the title of the painting above from this gemstone. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

To Thine Own Self Be True.

 The Reconsideration of the Mike Davis Situation, acrylic on panel, 24" x 24" 2007

Mirthless Laughter, oil on canvas, 16" x 20" 2013

My paintings have changed a lot over the years. I know, visually, there seems to be a big jump between those two paintings up there (though I know they are surface and that the similarities outweigh the differences). Sometimes I think the paintings I made a few years ago are stronger than the ones I am making now, and that's hard to swallow. Then I remind myself I am making the paintings I need to make right now. This is what's happening. I feel I am moving forward and that is important. 

I told my dad the other day that I struggle with how dark my paintings have become, but that using brighter colors (and I have tried) makes me feel like a fraud, and that in using them I would be trying to trick people, or myself. It's just not in me right now, what I am doing feels right. His response, which I am thankful for:

Mother heard an NPR discussion about F. Scott Fitzgerald today.  One of the last things he did was list the works of literature everyone should read before they depart this life.  One such work was "Sanctuary" by William Faulkner.  I read it last year and it was one of the darkest, most depressing works of literature I've ever read.  Hemingway's masterpiece, "Farewell to Arms," is of a similar genre.  And I'm currently about a third of the way through "Richard the Third" by William Shakespeare, hardly an inspiring bit of upbeat drama, and it isn't even among his tragedies.  And speaking of tragedies, there are the Greeks who set the stage for all the literature that follows.  So my conclusion is that whether you're a visual artist or a verbal artist, you can't be perceptive and honest and still portray the world in bright colors.  On the other hand, Shakespeare, and the Greeks, and William Faulkner, also wrote comedies.  So unless we can also see or imagine a bright side, the world would become unbearable.

Back to Shakespeare:  "This above all else.  To thine own self be true.  Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Love ya!

Preach it Dad. 

This was good for me, maybe it will be good for you too? 


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sustained Clarity

My mind is clear and somewhat settled. I am lost and searching and happy and confident which is showing in the work. Below is a recent finished painting.

Collated Experiences Oil on canvas over panel, 2013. 

I have been working towards my solo exhibition at HallSpace (December '13) since March. As of two weeks ago I am now also preparing for a March/April '14 solo exhibition at the Carol Schlosberg Gallery at Montserrat College of Art in  Beverly, MA. Whoop! Turbo mode. 

Thanks for reading sweetheart,


Thursday, July 11, 2013


I am really happy about what has been going on in (and out of) the studio lately.  I had a great studio visit yesterday with the director of HallSpace where my solo exhibition will be this December and have two more visits lined up for next week. I'm not sure I am ready to share photos of finished works yet, so here is a quick shot of the studio to give you SOME visual proof of productivity.

Up, up and away,


Monday, July 1, 2013

Feeling Inspired

I had a great conversation with a good friend the other day. It wasn't necessarily an easy one, but I left it feeling optimistic and inspired and set on being the best person I can be. I wrote down four pages of notes to remind myself to hold on to those feelings. Below are some excerpts that, days later, resonate the most: 

Don't get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. (The acronym H.A.L.T is used by individuals trying to cope with substance abuse, but I think we all can learn a little something from it.)

Call people.

Write more, read more, think more, paint more.

Be more giving of your talents.

Keep some happiness to yourself, but share some too.

Practice patience and loving kindness.

Don't stagnate. 

Stop making excuses.

Be honest.

I told myself I'd have a brush in hand by 12:30 today and that hour is fast approaching. 

Hugs and kisses,


*I can't believe I actually got to experience this in person. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

(Some of) My Brain Lately

I am lucky to have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are creative and I have been really appreciating and admiring that creativity lately. They don't all make things, but they all live and think and problem solve creatively and come up with projects they want to do in their spare time. They make me feel like a sham. 

I miss throwing piles of wood around and dragging pieces of garbage to the metal shop to take them apart and put them back together again in a different way.

I like that building my own stretcher bars and stretching my own canvas makes my hands and knees hurt for a week. 

My fingers used to bleed because I drew so much.

Next time I need a bookshelf I am going to build it. I think I needed one a couple of years ago, but the piles of books and magazines haven't started falling over yet. That'll be my indication. 

I do have plans to strip and refinish a metal cabinet I found in the trash and I am in the midst of "renovating" a room in my house.

The things I am most interested in are things I haven't figured out how to discuss out loud.  I'm quiet a lot and stare out of a lot of windows and up at a lot of ceilings. 

I've been writing lyrics that give heavy, heavy nods to some of my favorite songs.

Birds don't care about my problems...neither do waves. I look to both when I am feeling discouraged. 

I've been recording myself beat-boxing in the car about my name and where it came from. 

A friend asked me to be in his superhero themed art exhibition and I said "no I don't think my work would fit." He totally schooled my closed mind and gave me a brilliant idea. I wish I had said "yes, of course I'll be in your awesome art show" the first time around instead of the second, I just needed to do a little research. Lesson learned.

I love being devoted to paint, and don't think I have much of a choice, but when I go home at night I want another creative endeavor. I do like to write - I need to do more of that (this).

I like watching others work together to get to a magic spot. I want to start working on projects with other people. Like a band. 

I'm a ramblin' gal, and you're a patient reader.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Life.

Stare, paint, stare, paint, cry, paint, paint, nap, paint, watch sunset. Below are all works in progress.


Handmade signs of encouragement on the wall:

- embrace your tendencies

I have a fluctuating way with words.

*Advice given to Emily by a visiting artist. It stuck with her, and now it's stuck with me. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

It Bears Repeating.

The Men Who Don't Fit In
Robert W. Service

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha!  He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

I've posted this before but goshdang that's good. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Painter Without Her Paint: Laos

I should say that I am a pretty...particular...painter. I am slow. I take months to finish a painting. I find myself spending lengths of time making the tiniest adjustments to a painting to make it just right. Just so. I love the process and I love searching for that punch in the gut that happens when you nail it (rare, by the way) but it can be frustrating to work day in and day out, for hours, and not have finished pieces to show for it more often. 

The photos above, though thought about and considered, are snapshots in comparison to how long I labor over a painting. They are awkward. Angles seem off and shapes and colors are disproportionate to what I usually create in my paintings. They are mostly vertical while my paintings are mostly horizontal in reference to the landscape. I'm thinking about this discrepancy, and trying to figure out what these, and other,  tendencies mean. 

While my paintings don't look anything like the compositions above, they are helping my painting. This attraction to things being "off" is nudging me into some new territory, where I am letting go a bit, allowing things to be as awkward in my paintings as they are in reality.

It's all really, very exciting. 

Eventually, you'll get to see the paintings that result from all of this. Just you wait...I'll wait too. 

Forever yours,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Painter Without Her Paint: Thailand

I took over 4,000 photographs while away - it would have been more if I hadn't lost my camera. I wasn't drawing or painting but I was constantly taking photographs that I knew I'd use later for painting reference. About half my photos are documentation of things I experienced, the other half are more...compositional studies. Below are some that I took while in Thailand. Eventually I'll post ones from all of the countries. 

I go through my photos at least every couple of days and it makes my heart ache a little each time. I miss these places. Going through and posting and writing about them slowly has become another way for me to process the experience. I'll be posting them along with painting developments. 

Thanks for reading and looking.

Your Friend,

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Various States

It's hard to put photographs of unfinished paintings online, but I wanted to let you all know I am hard at work and painting, painting, painting. It has taken some time to remember how I best function in the studio (two months of no painting is disruptive, who knew?) but I am feeling the rhythm return. This is a good thing...I've got a solo show to prepare for...

So, above is evidence of how I'm spending my time. IN PROGRESS! BE KIND! 


Monday, April 1, 2013

Truth and Beauty

I memorized this poem in high school and find myself repeating it a lot. I thought you might like it.
I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth - the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a-night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Always on my Mind

I've been thinking about this bush for over a month now. I saw it at the Royal Palace in Hue, Vietnam. It was just sitting there, a glaring example of so many things I've been thinking about and haven't really figured out yet. It's got something to do with futile efforts and physical evidence of a private moment or action - in this case, abandoned effort and enthusiasm. We are constantly walking away from things thinking we've gotten it under control, when really, we never will. 

It's awkward and heartwarming and human and a little sad. 

Who's with me?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Inspiration for Creation

This is Ha Long Bay in Northern Vietnam. It is extremely touristy there and did not have the hit in the face magic I was expecting. As I distance myself from the experience though, I realize that the three days I spent floating, hiking and kayaking through this area has made itself known in my heart and brain and isn't going to leave.  

These beautiful forms were stoic, otherworldly, quiet, solid, seemingly ever-present limestone formations that will be gone one day, destroyed by the same processes that created them. How can they feel so powerful and permanent but at the same time so intangible and elusive? The floating village, also fleeting, was colorful, moving, fluctuating, human, and alive. Seeing the two co-exist in such stark contrast made the other that much more magnificent.  

Why are the most important things in life the hardest to define and understand? 

Off to paint with this on my mind.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Heading Off to Paint...

... and these images are on my mind. 

I have to get a bit more used to being back before I can even fathom the impact the last two months will have on my painting. I'm not going to pressure myself to try and see a visual influence in my work right away (or maybe ever). I know there are some things you can't un-see, things that find their way into your bloodstream and stay there, eventually making themselves known in ways you never could have expected. I also know I just saw a whole shit load of those things. Below are just a few.

All of the photos above are from Thailand. In order: A view from the  ferry to Wat Arun in Bangkok, amazing light as the sun goes down over Ayutthaya (Thailand's former capitol), just another boring storefront, the kids that helped us cook while jungle trekking, and monk laundry.

More soon, 
Your devoted Beatrice.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Must

I'm back from my jaunt in Asia. I'm re-reading Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke in hopes of an assisted adjustment. Below is a nugget I keep going back to. Read it slowly. I replace "write" with "paint" - you can do what you want with it. 

"No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature."

I've got a solo show coming up in December and I'll be painting my little life away in preparation. I'll be posting more thoughts on here along with painting developments. Hopefully you can bear it. 

This is one of the best sunsets I've ever seen. Not just because it was beautiful, but because I was surrounded by people and at the same time totally alone. I learned a lot during that evening in Luang Prabang, Laos. 

Hugs and kisses and bottles of wine, 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mixed Emotions.

If you ever want them, go explore Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar by bus, foot, bicycle, motorbike, motorcycle, boat, kayak, inner tube and elephant and then return home.

I am flying out of Yangon, Myanmar tomorrow morning at 8:00am and landing in Bangkok, Thailand about an hour later. I have less than 24 hours there, during which I will try and do the things I didn't get to do the first time around. I am both awfully excited and terribly sad to be heading back to the States.  I am excited to see friends and family and know I have a place to sleep each night, but sad to be leaving behind the friends I've made here and the excitement that comes with each day.

I love traveling and painting for the same reasons. It's challenging and rewarding and both involve constant problem solving and emotions run strong (good and bad). I really have learned to embrace the anxious feeling I get when the bus / train / boat pulls into a new city where I know nothing / no one and love  the minute that anxiety disappears because I am greeted by twenty guys who I can't really communicate with but who are offering to take me to a place I can sleep that night. Entering a new city on the back of a motorcycle at 5AM might be the best feeling in the world. 

I think a lot about what has been happening at home since I've been gone, what people are doing and thinking about. I wonder what will have changed when I get back and what will be exactly the same. I miss talking about painting and other things that are fun to talk about. I am reading a book about the creation of the universe and just finished one about people's obsession with conquering nature and I don't have anyone to talk to about it. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE?! I have met so many incredible people here but just as we're really starting to get to know each other (beyond where we've been, where we're heading, where we're from, etc...) I have to hop off the train or they have to get on a bus.  Conversations don't go as far as I'd like (need) them to.

I am excited to have people over to my house to drink Myanmar Whisk(e)y and hear what they've been up to. I'm also excited to jump around in snow, but feel bad for my feet that have been enjoying flip flops for the past two months and will now need to be jammed into boots for two more.

This post has no structure to it. I've got a lot on my mind. When I get back I'll be doing some posts with photos. It was really nice to keep most things to myself during these two months. I think over sharing can lead to self concious experiences - instead of being in the moment and appreciating it, you're thinking about how you can tell people about it. I don't know, maybe that's just me. Either way, a (mostly) blog and Facebook free two months has been nice. It's one of the things I'm going to try and hold on to when I get back - less Facebook = more painting, piano practicing, French lessons and friend time.

Hugs and kisses and sugar and spice,

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In Cambodia...

...I have used sleeping dogs as landmarks because it's too hot for them to move.
...I have used standing pools of filthy, stinky water as landmarks as well.
...I watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat and had many a contemplative moment in deserted temple ruins.
...I went to the same masseuse enough times in a row that he saw me in a crowd and came and shook my
...buses for Bangkok leave at 2:00AM (I will be on the next one.)

It's not easy to get online in Burma, which is where I will be beginning tomorrow. I will be there for two weeks, so this might be it for a while. That may change, as things tend to do.

Until then, I'll keep it cool if you do.


PS - I am planning to visit Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay and trek to Inle Lake from Kalaw while in Burma. If you care to look any of those up that's great, but I'll also be sharing way too many photos when I get stateside if anticipation is your thing.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


- Two nights ago a giant rat ran by my feet while I sat in a dirty, dark alley eating the best bowl of pho 
  I've ever eaten.
- I visited a pottery village yesterday, and an ocean and three islands. I rented a bike for $1.00 and rode
  it all day.
- I just left a magic city where there were lanterns everywhere and it made me think of my friends 
  back home.  (Hoi An, Vietnam)
- I am writing a lot about painting and reading a lot about the creation and study of the universe - I don't
  really understand either.
- I can now cross "eat an entire pineapple like it is an ear of corn" off of my list of things to do.
- I listened to a Ray Charles album this evening which made me want to drink wine so I did that.
- For the first time on this trip I got a pretty rough case of the I Miss You Blues yesterday. Even though
  I am meeting lots of interesting people and seeing lots of interesting things I don't have the hugs,
  laughs, or conversations that are in such good supply back home. Remedy: Jerry Seinfeld/Mitch
  Hedburg standup + two hour nap + huge amount of food...and ice cream.

I felt much better. 

I am taking an 8:00AM bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia tomorrow and hopefully meeting up with my Australian friends from Thailand and Laos. Ho Chi Minh City is INSANE. 

I took a plane today - my backpack weights 12.7 kilos.

I just ate more ice cream - it's very warm here.

I miss you guys, thanks for reading, you da' bomb,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Bought Some New Books...

"The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter more terrible than any sadness - a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the wild..." - Jack London

Put that in your back pocket and sit on it for a's been in my mind for days...

Another gem:
"It should not be denied...being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and opression and law and irksome obligations..." -Wallace Stegner

I spent six hours on a motorcycle today with a man whose name I never got. He showed me some of Central Vietnam's coastline and it was glorious. Four more days in Vietnam before my holiday in Cambodia begins.

Sometimes the nights reach the same temperature as they do in the early fall in Beverly which is a nice feeling and reminds me of home. I was paddling a two person kayak by my self the other day - I sat in the back seat and kept imagining different people in the front.

I'm exhausted and really need to shower.

You're the tops,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Deep Thoughts.

- I have been walking through a lot of mud/animal poop the last few weeks.
- I now know how to find eels in mud pits, catch them, kill them, skin them, gut them, cook them and eat 
- I am thinking a lot about universal truths and how awkward the intersection of man and nature is.
- I don't use the zoom on my camera much because I can't help but think I am taking something out of 
  context and it's been drilled into me to always put things IN to context.
- I am learning to put things in perspective as well.
- A group of twenty-two year olds called me old the other day.
- I got on a plane a month ago...and will get on another one a month from today. Oof.

Short and sweet.

Hug and a squeeze,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This is fun...

I'm in Hanoi, Vietnam right now and heading to Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island for the next three days. I have been doing and seeing many wonderful things and being on the computer has been far from my mind. BUT I just had two cups of a coffee, the internet is free, and I have an hour and a half until my cheesy water puppet show starts so here are some highlights so far:

- Getting my Myanmar visa without a hassle.
- My first tuk-tuk ride in Bangkok.
- Getting lost on my bicycle in Ayutthaya, Thailand and not seeing another westerner for hours.
- Getting lost on foot in Ayutthaya, Thailand and getting a motorcycle ride to the ferry from the local I asked 
   for directions.
- Meeting and then travelling through Thailand and Laos with three really great Aussies (we have since 
  parted ways. Sad.)
- Jungle trekking for three days which included riding an elephant, drinking whiskey moonshine from a
  bag under a waterfall and eating rat for breakfast.
- The five massages I've had so far...
- Taking a two day slow boat down the Mekong River in Laos.
- Watching the sunset in Luang Prabang, Laos.
- Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam and doing a homestay in the Tavan valley with a Black Hmong family.

I'm very happy. The thing I miss the most are my jeans...and you of course.