Friday, July 17, 2009

Golden ladders to nowhere: The Past and Present

The artist's life is never dull; packed with ups and downs, triumphs and lulls. I just have to keep on going but sometimes I have to look back as well. It helps to put everything in perspective. We are so busy living this chaotic life that we don't remember where we've been, and when that happens we can lose our way on the path so easily.

In orange text is an update to an old post...I hope you will find this interesting and not obnoxious.

Originally posted Friday, January 18, 2008

It has been another exciting and busy week! First of all, thank you for all your comments about last week's post. It was great to hear from so many of you and of your personal experiences with rejection in the art world. I was very happy that I had my studio blog so I could channel my energy and feelings about that subject into something positive and useful. I am very fortunate that I have this forum to share my experiences in this business with you. I do feel your support and encouragement, and I appreciate it.

This past week, four of my pieces were placed in the Arkansas World Trade Center in Rogers, Arkansas. My work will be showing along with the work of Kathy Thompson and Helen Phillips for the next three months. The DDP gallery in Fayetteville managed the selection and placement of the works, and the paintings will be for sale through the gallery as well. I am excited to have my work in this facility. I will let you know when they have updated their website to include my work.

In other gallery news, I am now represented by the fabulous River Market Art Space located in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas! I am very pleased to join their stable of talented artists, and look forward to participating in the 2nd Friday art nights as often as I can. I think my work will be a good fit for the gallery, and I am excited to be in the heart of Little Rock River Market area. So, if you are in Little Rock or plan to visit, look for my work there starting late January or early February. I will update you when I have a presence on the River Market Art Space's website as well. I am no longer represented by the M2 gallery in West Little Rock. I had a wonderful year with the M2 gallery and the wonderful artists represented there.

This week, I received a shocking email that River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock was closing its doors after eleven years of business. I remember being so excited about this venue for my work. It was a very popular gallery in the State of Arkansas in a wonderful bustling downtown area. My exhibition Fire and Noise found it's home in this gallery as did so many of my other paintings. I enjoyed showing and selling my work in this grand space for the year and half that I did. I am really sorry to see this gallery close. I will be heading down there soon to pick up the remainder of my work. They still have a lot of it! Little orphaned paintings now, I will be trying to find representation in Little Rock again in the near future.

Last night, I was very fortunate to be invited to speak at the Young Emerging Leader's event, Secrets Revealed: The Fine Art of Art & Wine. The event was held in the Ft. Smith Town Club and Remy Fine Art. I was there to discuss my work, process, and what all it entails to be an professional artist as well as the joys of collecting original art. I also tried to dispel some myths in the art world as well. I encouraged the group to ask questions and think for themselves when it comes to buying original art; to let their personal tastes alone and not the fads or trends, guide them in the process. I believe if they do this, they will be satisfied with their art buying experience and the art in their collection will keep giving to them in ways they haven't even imagined. The group members asked some fantastic questions, and seemed very receptive. I was very nervous about my talk, but of course once it started, I was in my element and I had the greatest time. It just solidifies to me that this is my passion, and I am so lucky to be able to do this as a career. So a big thank you to the wonderful Y.E.L. group and a massive thank you to Jeanne Parham at Remy Fine Art. My exhibit at Remy Fine Art closes today, so if you are in the Ft. Smith area and have not seen it yet, please go check it out. The gallery will keep a selection of my work for sale, and will continue to represent my work in the Ft. Smith area. It has been a wonderful exhibit and experience, with 5 of my paintings selling so far.

Lastnight, I gave another talk about my art, this time to the Artists of Northwest Arkansas club at the Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center. I hadn't given a formal talk about my art since the talk I gave at Remy Fine Art almost a year and a half ago. This time it was a paid speaking position! I was sick again, just like I was before my talk in Ft. Smith (interesting), but I had the same great feelings about giving my talk, showing 5 of my paintings, explaining my processes and materials and answering questions. I really had so much fun, I was completely in my element even while sucking on coughdrops to calm my barking cough. I can say, I really do love public speaking. The idea of it makes me so nervous. I hate waiting to be called up to speak, but once I am up there, it combines everything I enjoy. Part acting and comedy routine merged with my enthusiasm for art and what it means to be an artist. I really need to do that more often. They too, were very receptive and it was such a pleasure to speak with them. On another note. Remy Fine Art where I gave my first talk closed its doors a long while ago as well, another victim of the recession.

Tomorrow, I will be headed back to Ft. Smith to pack up part of my exhibit and then share parts of it and trade out art with the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs and the River Market Art Space in Little Rock, and at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. In other words all the galleries that represent me in Arkansas will soon have new and exciting work in time for February. I am looking forward to trading out my work, and making everything fresh just in time for Spring. It is never too early to think of Spring!

To top this already busy week off, I have been in the studio working away. My time there has been exciting. I currently have 11 new paintings in progress right now! I think many of these new paintings will go to Gallery Fraga in Bainbridge Island, Washington. A new energy and vigor has taken hold as I am experimenting with new shape ideas, color combinations, and a bit of a new design element. As soon as I get the work photographed I will share it with my blog readers first.

I remember being so excited about this time and having my work in new galleries and creating new work for Gallery Fraga outside of Seattle in Bainbridge Island. I had so many hopes and dreams for this exhibition, According to the Vapors. I sold maybe 5 pieces from Gallery Fraga in the year or so I was represented by them, and yes they too went under in the end. Another gallery gone in this same span of time.

Strange to look back and see all these changes. What has not changed is my work ethic, I am still here thinking, writing, talking, and making art; that will be the one consistent thing in this artist's life. It is the only thing I can control, and it is the only way I can keep moving forward. There will be other galleries, there will be more artist's talks, and many new bodies of work. I may never make a "comfortable" living as an artist, but I will continue to live and work, all the while inching forward towards something...

So, that is a week in the life of this artist, thank you so much for being a part of it.

Yes, thank you for being a part of it. Now and then, in the past and in the present. Your support and readership means a lot to me. And that is why this week I am bringing back something from the past as well; the paper painting give away!

How many of you are still out there? Please leave me a comment and let me know. I don't care if you have already won a painting in the past, and if you don't want to be included in the drawing just comment anyway and say so. Please don't be shy. So leave a comment between now and next Wednesday July 22 at Midnight Central US Time and you will be entered the random drawing to win the painting pictured above. Give me your ideas for future posts, say whatever you need to say. I look forward to hearing from you. Good Luck!

Thank you for everything.

Golden Ladders to Nowhere
mixed media on paper
© Megan Chapman

My work is still available at ddp gallery in Fayetteville, Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs, and Wear Art Thou in Austin Texas. And for my small works on paper visit my shop artmaven on


  1. Sorry to read that you've lost a favourite gallery but great to know everything is going well otherwise. Really love those new paintings you put up recently. Your new photo project should be amazing and I look forward to following your progress.


  2. I took a group of teachers on a writing marathon in the River Market last Friday and we all went into the RM ArtSpace to ogle and write. It was wonderful to see your work there - I've got pictures and will post about it soon.

    That said, hearing that they closed just days later and forever was a blow. I've been leading writing marathons for years and we always end up at the River Market ArtSpace to breathe the art and write. I'll miss it.

  3. I am 62 and have been drawing and painting since I was 12. That old ZEN adage that "the journey IS the destination" is so VERY true, especially in art I think. The variety of "art" related jobs I've had over these many years was beyond any imagining when I first started out. But through it all I have been self-employed as an "artist" the entire "journey". What I find most interesting reading your blog and Myspace updates is the same fidelity to the "path". I love your work, it really is wonderful (I use ladders a lot in my work too), but what I like most is that "burning" inner flame. That is what will carry you the long distance down this road you have decided to travel. It has been a constant revelatory joy (and sometimes a writhing pain), but I couldn't have done anything else. As I look back (only occasionally) I am more shocked, and surprised, than anyone at how it has all played out. I wish you well on YOUR journey. It is worth the effort.

  4. Great post!
    I enjoyed reading the 2 contrasting blogs, but with the same singing voice of the art creator! You are a true inspiration. I hear other artists moaning and whingeing about the recession, but you take it in your stride and say, well this is my path and I couldn't do anything else.


    As Dogboy said, the journey is the destination.

  5. I've been following your blog for a while and was particularly pleased to read your recent post about your new project. Your excitement and energy were palpable. Those feelings -- and the ones you felt while speaking in public about your art -- are the ones to remember when galleries close and economies contract, and things we love (and that contribute to our livelihood) disappear as a result.

    I look forward to hearing more about your new work and your creative journey, and send good wishes that you uncover new venues for your art.

  6. PS - as I own 3 of your paper paintings already and have a commission in progress, I'll opt out of the giveaway :)
    Otherwise my house will be like a shrine to Megan Chapman!!

  7. Congrats on the talk last night, that would have been really interesting and inspiring to hear it. And Megan it is and has been incredibly inspiring to read your blog and know that you keep that focus, keep that courage. And seeing if one door closes for you, even though the feelings are there, you can find another. :)

  8. "I may never make a "comfortable" living as an artist, but I will continue to live and work, all the while inching forward towards something..."

    Beautiful. That is a yardstick for us all.

    Comfort is overated anyway, it just leads to banality & conventional..
    ..your work is alive & certainly kicking against the pricks & fakes.

    You have a home, a studio & enough pennies (cents?) for beers.. ;) what more could you possibly want??

  9. I'm glad to see you're creating new works of art. I really enjoy walked on wires and come quickly to me. Powerful useage of colors. I'm sorry to hear the gallery in LR is closing. I will miss it. Take care.


  10. I'm still here! You know I'll always be here -often quiet and in the background but always here.

  11. It is sad that the economy is taking it's toll on every aspect including the Art community. Thankfully we still have "Art Walks" and other venues that will support our craft. If you think back to the days of VanGough and Picasso, there were no Galleries to support them. Eventually times will change and people will look for something they can invest in, Art will be one aspect. A beautiful piece of Art is a personal decision one of which can be enjoyed on a daily basis, even in Corporate America. When you walk into any office or even some department stores, they now have some beautiful pieces. My hairdresser has at least five very beautiful pieces in her salon. It is a personal decison, for esthetic reasons as well as enjoyment.
    I enjoy seeing what wonderful new and exciting work you always come up with Megan. your use of colors and expression astound me. I have no doubt you will always have a career in the Art world and that Galleries will seek you out in the future!

    (Pam just posted this on last week's post- but due to the subject matter in her comment, I think she really meant to post this over here)

  12. "Awesome, gal. Your work is looking really fantastic. I showed Bijou, and from being in your studio she could recognize your style!"
    - Heather & Bijou

    I submitted this comment on their behalf due to computer issues. :)

  13. interesting post. one of the galleries where i show closed recently, and another will close any day now. it strikes me that, soon, we will have to represent ourselves. you seem to have a gifted natural tendency toward that. i on the other hand....

  14. Wish I could draw a crooked line...I may not be qualified to comment since I am not a visual artist, but here goes it. I do regret to hear of the closings but agree with Petlillo on your tendancies. Future blogs: what routines do you and others go through when painting, does it depend on the vision you are trying to create or do you just feed off of the same external energy source regardless of what the intended project is? You commented to me before on the loud music you listen to through headphones. I would like to see a sample from your readers for intrest sake...

  15. Having read the above comment....I think it might be interesting to ask other artists, or other creative sorts, what their creative process, or processes, are. I've had friends that were mathematicians, into "pure" mathematics, and it turns out the processes are often sometimes similar. Where do YOUR ideas come from, how do you persue them, visualize them. How do you take it from conception to "product". It might be fun for other artists to share, and hear, and certainly for those outside the creative world (no one REALLY is though)that wonder how it all happens. It is a question I DO get asked often..."where do get all those ideas from??" I usually say, "I don't really know, but, somebody PLEASE make it STOP!!" Jokingly (well, kinda'), usually gets a laugh.

  16. talks are always sacry to me. Wish I could do them without havin my heart in my tongue ! Sorry to hear about the galleries, let's hope things will change quickly !

  17. You do good work, Megan and I do check your blog here fairly regularly. Have you ever documented your process? From inspiration/conceptualization to finished product? -- stvj

  18. I hate to hear the River Market ArtSpace has closed, they had one of the best selections of art in the state. Like some of the other commentors here, I'd love to know more about your process. Have you ever thought about doing a speaking event down in Little Rock? In any case, keep on painting and posting.

  19. Hello there - I'm just back from vacation, wanted to let you know that I found your blog a few months ago and really appreciate everything you share here - I love seeing into the mind of an artist, especially one whose works moves me as yours does! Thanks