Friday, December 26, 2008

"You're more than what some people let you know..."

I hope all my readers had a wonderful holiday yesterday with friends and family. Perhaps you had a few minutes to yourself to just be still with a good song, a dream, a book, anything that makes you happy and that you were all safe and warm.

Time marches on, and this year seemed to go at warp speed. I know we still have some time and I am jumping the gun a bit. I just feel the need to see where I have been before I move into the next year. This may make for boring reading for you, but I hope it will encourage you to really think about all the things you have done with your art/life this past year. I don't care if you are only a part time or sporadic artist, or a seasoned professional. Last year in my post Bravery and the Art of being an Artist , I challenged my readers to set some goals and really go for it in 2008. I know that many of you have really been working hard this year and you deserve to give yourself credit for all your efforts. Sometimes it is easy to disregard your accomplishments unless you write them down. Feel free to post them in the comments or keep them to yourself. I try to keep up with many of you, and I must say how impressed and inspired I have been with your amazing paintings, your promotions, and your shows over this past year.

My 2008...

We will start with some of the negatives...

I dealt with a major rejection last January after my work had been sought out and was considered for reproduction by one of my favorite stores, an international company based in Sweden(you know the one). Going through that long process was a thrill and filled me with hope, confidence, and excitement but also drained me. It looked like it was a "go" right until the end and then it just wasn't. I posted about it vaguely in my blog and said I was going to give myself half a day and some soy ice cream to be really miserable and then just get over it. Ha! If you noticed less "rah rah- you can do it", and more "what is this all about?" in my blog posts this year, I suspect this had something to do with it. It took more than a half day to get over it to say the least. All in all, it was an honor to be considered and I did learn a lot about the process and also how I feel about the business of reproductions.

Last year, I said I was going to enter a particular juried publication, even though I always get rejected, well I entered and I got rejected again! I will probably enter it again this year as well; sometimes we just have to do these things.

Also, two of the galleries that represented my work unfortunately closed this year due to the economy among other things. I was sad that they closed, but like they say "one door closes, another one opens." Thanks for the memories, Gallery Fraga and Remy Fine Art. It was a pleasure to work with you both.

Alright, enough of that.. lets get to the fun stuff.

I didn't get in the one publication but I did get in another. Studio Visit accepted my work, and the reproductions of two of my paintings in that journal were stunning. I was very pleased to be a part of the first issue of that publication. I also received a very nice letter from a stranger who had come across my work in Studio Visit and they shared how my work had moved them and that meant a lot to me. Also because of the Studio Visit publication, I was approached by a company that specializes in reproductions for the hotel and hospitality industry, and was offered a contract to have my work reproduced. This was again a thrill to be sought out, but in the end the contract didn't meet my needs and I passed on the opportunity. I learned a tremendous amount about the reproduction/art licensing industry in 2008, and I am grateful for that knowledge and I hope I will be able to use it in the future. I am now getting pretty good at processing these types of contracts from these experiences. I am also getting pretty good at listening to my gut and making sure I don't jump on every "opportunity" that comes my way.

Another of my goals for 2008 was to submit my work to at least two new galleries for consideration, and I am pleased to report I did fulfill this goal. I submitted my work to two galleries in Atlanta, Georgia, one gallery in Kansas City, Missouri and one gallery in Portland, Oregon.We will see what happens. At the present time, none of these galleries showed me much, if any interest, and I did get one firm rejection but I am putting myself out there and that is part of the game, you can't win them all. One day soon, there will be an opening for my work in these larger markets.

Another positive in 2008 was my newly revamped website, created and updated by myself using iweb on my imac. I am so happy to have a website that is easily updated, that I can managed quickly and easily by myself. I am very proud of myself for taking care of this part of my business.

I had a successful exhibition at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs in June and July, Evidence of the Disappearance. This show taught me so much about myself, my art, and my need to share the experience with other creative people. I felt that I had been working in a vacuum before this exhibition and it was such a wonderful experience to bounce ideas off fellow artists and receive invaluable feedback and inspiration. I picked up a lot of blog readers during this process as I promoted my work in progress through as many online outlets as possible. I blogged and MySpaced about it, I made youtube videos, I vlogged, pod casted, created an exhibition catalog with, and a beautiful postcard. I explored all means available to me in promoting this show. I was very proud of the paintings that were created, and my use of technology to promote and share these paintings. I will always look back on Evidence of the Disappearance as a success and an important time in my life.

I also tried to diversify and offer other services as the economy took a down turn. I offered portfolio reviews for the first time ever, and really enjoyed the opportunity to look through other artist's work and give them feedback or answer their specific questions at an affordable rate. I am still available for this service.For a $25 suggested donation through my paypal button on my blog, I will look at up to 20 images of your work and give you detailed written feedback, note themes or problems or answer your specific questions regarding your work. Artists who have used this service in the past have found it helpful. Contact me for more details.

I also started my own shop at called ArtMaven this past September. I have been thrilled with the response to my Etsy shop, and happy to be able to offer people my affordable, one of a kind original small works on paper.I have sold fifty five small works to people all over the country and world since opening my shop. Every time a small piece sells for $25 or $40 it is a thrill and keeps me excited and hopeful while waiting for my larger paintings in the galleries to sell. The galleries that represent my work sold quite a few larger paintings this year as well, and I enjoyed working on several commissions through the galleries as well.

And now as 2008 wraps up I am busy finishing up my next exhibition, Fire and Noise which will open Friday Feburary 13th at the River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock Arkansas. I look forward to seeing this body of work to completion and sharing these works with you all as well as the public that will come to see them.

These are just some of the highlights of 2008, a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of learning, a lot of communicating and making connections, a lot of wonderful and new friendships forged. A lot of 3am wake up calls and many many many paintings of iron oxide, blue, textured atmosphere, lines and shapes. Many great songs played full blast over my headphones while jumping up and down in front of my easel. I want more of all of that in 2009.

I have many more coals in the fire as well, I am currently looking at getting a studio space outside my home and talking to an out of state gallery about a possible show in the Spring. I have some goals planned for the new year as well. I want to take more risks with my work. I want follow up with the galleries I submitted to earlier this year as well as submitting to more galleries this next year. I want to travel more and get out to see more great art in museums and galleries. I also want to keep painting small works and restocking my etsy shop regularly. I want to enter more juried exhibitions like I used to do before I was represented by galleries. These are just a few ideas...

How was your 2008 and what do you have planned for 2009 ?

I wish you the freedom to know your talents and strengths and to be more kind to yourself this year than you were last year. We are all going to get rejected, have slow months, question our work, question ourselves, but just know we are in this together. In the new year when you are painting and it is clicking, when you suddenly feel free and like everything is possible; hold on to that moment. They come and go so fast but those moments are why we do this work. Those flashes keep calling us back to this madness, this amazing life as an artist.

May 2009 be filled with these flashes for us all...

At a loss for words (I wanna be adored)
Mixed media on Canvas
copyright 2008
Megan Chapman
Fire and Noise series

Friday, December 19, 2008

Inspirations: There is no end to this...

I was working on a 2008 wrap up post, but I got completely overwhelmed. So I decided to put that on the back burner for now. Sometimes people just want to know what inspires me and I have written several blogs about my inspirations in the past but it has been a while. So here goes... Enjoy...

My number one inspiration over everything is music. If you ask me what inspires my paintings, I am not going to give you another painter's name but the name of a band or a song. If you want to know what bands inspire me, just take a listen to my play list. I have music on all the time from the moment I wake up until I sleep, and sometimes I even sleep to it (mostly in the summer.) Music helps me day dream, tells me stories and makes my life much more exciting and beautiful.Music is my constant companion and friend.

Another major inspiration are the films I watch. I love all types of films but I really love the films of Wong Kar-wai. Such as Chunking Express, In the mood for love, and 2046. If you are not familiar with his films, I highly recommend them. Many of you know that I am also a huge fan of Hal Hartley. Favorites include, Surviving Desire, Henry Fool, and Book of Life. Here is a scene from Book of Life

Next, the books I read. I have been a sporadic reader in the past, but have read considerably more this past year. I have always been a huge fan of Armistead Maupin and have read everything of his. But I found myself in reading lull, I just couldn't find what I was looking for until about a year ago. It turns out I just didn't know where to look. Thanks to a good friend, now I do. The works of Huruki Murakami stir my mind up in the best way. Favorites include, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark, South of the Border West of the Sun, and Sputnik Sweet Heart. After the quake, is a good collection of his short stories to get you started. I also throughly enjoy the books of Douglas Coupland, my favorites so far of his being, The Gum Thief, Girlfriend in a Coma, and Hey Nostradamus. I am also inspired by the blogs that I read, please check my blog roll on the right, and explore some of those that I frequent, you won't be disappointed.

Now to art, you would expect that I am inspired by art and of course I am. Some of these people I admire for their art, others for their business sense or lust for life. Some favorites include:
Basquiat, Hirst, Warhol, Modigliani, Schiele, Rothko, Bacon, Munch, the list could go on and on. Photographers Mann, Woodman and I truly love the works of Robert Polidori in his book Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl. These photographs are haunting, the colors are lovely and it is amazing to see these places returning to the earth after being abandoned due to the Chernobyl disaster. I highly recommended this book. I found it in my local library, perhaps it is in yours?

I am also inspired by the art that my friends and family produce. Artists in general inspire me, to be an artist is a labor of love and it takes courage. I admire all the artists that are quietly going for it or beating down doors to be seen and heard.

I hope I have turned you on to some new inspirations or that you have gotten to know me just a little bit better. I thank you for reading my blog and sharing some of your precious time with me. It means a lot to me and you all inspire me as well.

If this wasn't enough of my inspirations and you are new to this blog, there are several previous posts you might want to check out.

Inspiration Grab Bag
Six Amazing artists you should know
Rainy Day? Say goodbye to boredom with Fun
What my mind needs

Monkey Wrench

The printing press had issues this morning, but maintenance is looking at it and we should be back to full production shortly. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, December 12, 2008

An end has a start.

These past three days were unusual for me. I gratefully had a job, and I was being paid an hourly wage. I was working for my good friend Dede Peters at the wonderful ddp gallery. It was a great experience in many ways and taught me a lot about myself. Interesting how getting out of my little home studio enclave can do that. Learning abounds outside. Anyway, lets just say I got a healthy dose of perspective and I hope I can hang on to it for a good long while. It may be more valuable than my wages earned this week.

First of all, sometimes I doubt myself. We all doubt ourselves, I know. But when people believe in us and trust us, it is such an honor. I had responsibility to more than just myself the past three days and I handled it and that makes me think I can handle a lot more than I give myself credit for. I know I sound like some shut-in or something, but I haven't been working "outside" for quite awhile and I wasn't sure if I still could. Anyway, I managed pretty well I think. It was a fun challenge and I took pride in my work and the hours I spent in the gallery. I used to think I had a character flaw when it came to work. I thought I was actually flawed somehow because I didn't work in the same way as everyone else. I have worked numerous odd jobs, even some hard labor, etc. you can check one of my early blogs for the list. I am a hard worker when I am out there. I don't want to waste any one's time, but at the same time I never feel at home in a job for long. I thought it was because I was simply lazy, like I said, a flaw, but now I know it is just a character trait, something within me. I like to live my life in an unpredictable manner, apparently as an artist and this scares me but it also comforts me.

Working these 3 days showed me how lucky I am to do what I do to pay my bills. I do admit sometimes I feel like a caged animal working alone in my studio, while the rest of world takes coffee breaks with co-workers.However, I felt like a caged animal behind the gallery desk as well, so I guess that is just how I feel and it is not a flaw, it is just within me. I might never find peace, but all this nervous energy needs a channel and luckily I have one. I want to dive into a painting and take a good long roll around within and I want to breathe it in and just know how lucky I am to have this world that I thought I had created only by default. I now know my being an artist is not only my birthright but also truly a choice and I want to burn this realization into my brain.

I care for painters (artists) and painting, I know what I like and what I don't. I know color and atmosphere. It isn't about the money; it is about me and my soul and how I feel while painting and how I feel while being a painter. I needed some perspective and I got it. Today, as you are reading this, know that I am in my studio cleaning it up on my time, listening to music and drinking my coffee and moving my hands over my things to take inventory. I will be painting new works for Fire and Noise and beyond and maybe someone will view them one day and dive within them and be taken away from their work-a-day world. If that happens, then I will have served my purpose.I will have honestly worked the way I was intended to work in this world...

PS. Some of you have already seen the progress on the Fire and Noise series and for others these will be new.In the next week I expect much more progress to be made and I will share the results.

I am inspired again and I ache to paint and that is all I ever really wanted.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My heart is golden and so is yours.

If you are new to this blog please refer to my post, May our worlds collide for any background information you may need to make sense of the events that will be expressed in the following post.

I had a friend named Will Boyd, he was really sick, his heart was failing and he was in medical debt. In October I heard about all of this and I felt compelled to make a difference in a small way, just on my own. I decided I could help by donating 20% of the proceeds from my art sales through my Etsy shop to his health care fund. I wanted to give small amounts of $5.00 and $8.00 dollars over the course of the month; that was my simple plan.

I also happen to have an amazing group of friends. Friends in my local community and from MySpace and Facebook. Friends from around the country and around the globe.These friends were very moved by my blog post regarding Will. They were also moved by my Facebook and MySpace bulletins and memos asking for help on his behalf. They rose to the challenge and put skepticism and doubt aside and gladly offered their support and help. They donated column inches in their blogs to promote my Etsy shop and my donation goals for Will's cause.They donated their own paintings, giving either all or part of the proceeds to his health care fund. My friends told their friends, through additional blogs and bulletins. My friends also held Will in their thoughts and prayers with love and concern. These friends bought my works from my Etsy shop during the month of October in order to help Will. Just through this, I/we raised $245 in October which I then donated to help offset Will's medical debts.

I think we felt connected, helpful, and empowered. We were happy to be a part of a grass roots movement to take care of one of our own. We were working under the concepts of idealism, hope, and trust.

Well, last night I received an email that shook me to my core. An email that for a moment made me doubt my judgement and doubt my good nature. Unfortunately, my friend Will Boyd exaggerated his health issues. His heart was not about to fail. He now claims to have Bi-polar disorder and things just spiraled out of control. You can read his apology here at the website.

So, our worlds collided and got bigger and bigger, and unfortunately our trust was broken and our hearts were abused and I am sorry I dragged you all into this mess. However, I did get a refund of the $245 dollars that I donated to Will's health care fund, as well as a personal apology email from Will. I am in the process of returning any money that was given to me from other artists from their sales to benefit Will's cause. The remaining money that I had donated as a result of my Etsy sales for the month of October will now be donated to the Humane Society of the United States. So that we can all still feel good about our actions in October. If you bought a painting from me through my Etsy shop in October I thank you sincerely, your heart is big and I appreciate your willingness to give to a stranger and I hope you are enjoying my art. Know that your 20% has now been given to the Humane Society "to stop animal cruelty and suffering wherever it occurs" and I hope you feel good about your donation.

We have big hearts, and I don't regret that. I hope you don't either.
I hope you know how proud I am to be a part of such a wonderful community of friends and artists. Your caring and generosity inspired me in October and continues to do so. I won't let anyone take that away from me. I hope you won't either.

Thank you for your understanding.

For those who don't know, my Etsy store has been fully restocked with new small works just in time for the holidays and I am offering free shipping through the 7th of December. Please visit my shop, Art Maven.

pictured above : The Wheat Fields
6x9" Mixed media on paper $25.00

Monday, December 1, 2008


And on a Monday.Wow- I just wanted to shake things up...
I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that I have restocked my Etsy shop and that for the entire first week of December I will be offering FREE WORLD WIDE shipping!!

So, please visit my shop. I will be adding more paintings through out the week.If you have any questions about my work on etsy please don't hesitate to ask.

Affordable, original art for all, that is what ArtMaven is all about.
Thank you for supporting a living and working artist!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade