Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Year in Review

During the last week of each year, I try to do a year in review blog to condense and summarize my life as an artist. I do this mostly for me, so that I can look back and remember the ups and downs of the past year. As it is happening it is so easy to forget what we are living through and I find taking the time to look back and reflect illuminating. It also helps me to get excited about the year to come.

So, here goes! And once again, if you actually read this post through to the end, you deserve some type of gold star or medallion.

2011 started with my largest commission request to date. I painted a 7x5.5 foot painting for the entry way of a private residence. It was an interesting experience. I remember it was a bit of a struggle, simply from the physicality of the painting size itself, as I am only 5ft 2". Also, the clients wanted a painting that spoke of my earlier color works, specifically the painting called Olivine from 2007, that had always been one of my favorite paintings. It took a while, but we finally got there and the client was ultimately pleased.

At the same time I was working on my commission, I started a new series on paper, called Maps of the Night. I remember the excitement that propelled me through that series combining words and charcoal on crinkly paper. It was the beginning of my documentation of the new relationship in my life with fellow artist Stewart Bremner from Scotland. The Maps of the Night were a way to feel closer to Stewart as he was asleep across the ocean six hours ahead. I remember feeling nervous about this process, as I shared my excitement of this very new long distance romance in a cryptic manner, through the one liners that floated across the drawn page. I remember many long nights painting this series and I remember feeling so pleased when the series was a sell out. I took a risk and was richly rewarded. There were twenty paintings in this series.

I was also very busy working within the Fayetteville Underground. If you want to read a summary of what I did as Co-Artistic Director at the Fayetteville Underground, you can click here.

After the commission was completed and the Maps of the Night had all found their homes I began the Flashcard series. Works on paper were a big part of my year, it is often an affordable medium and if you know me, you also know that I feel strongly about the power of original art and that I believe everyone should be able to afford it. I created twenty-nine of these miniature works and this series sold out as well.

While these works on paper were selling, my older color works and paintings from last year's series Falling Into Sound were selling as well. I met a lot of wonderful people in 2011, new friendships, new collectors, and new fellow artists all came into my life to make it richer and better. 

While this blog is based on my artistic life, I have to mention Stewart Bremner's first visit to Fayetteville in April and his exhibition Iteration/Span with Craig Munro in May at the Hive Gallery. We scheduled that show long before Stewart and I were in a relationship and I am so glad we did. It served as the extra impetus perhaps for him to get on a plane to come over here and for us to meet for the first time. A very magical moment. Stewart has been a huge inspiration for my work this year and a huge source of happiness. We also created nine paintings together side by side in my little studio in the basement of the underground. The series became known as A Question of Chemistry and by the end of it there was no question. After a few initial stumbling blocks, we managed to create a meaningful and cohesive body of work. It was a thrill to work with Stewart and we were both pleased by the attention the work received.

While Stewart was here, the title for my next series Sometimes I love you and other stories was born. I had the title and the concept before I had started the work. I remember starting to paint alone again after working with Stewart was more difficult than I had anticipated. My thoughts from this time as quoted in my blog, "this body of work seems like it is going to be a stretch, a bit like pulling teeth with a heavy dose of trepidation but also unbridled excitement and inspiration." That pretty much sums of the experience of putting my heart on the line and on display for everyone to read and see. I created twenty-two paintings in this series for my exhibition in September in the Vault Gallery at the Underground.

As I was painting the Sometimes series, I was also creating another small paper series as I explored my ideas for working my own typed words into the paintings. This series consisted of ten pieces called Letters never sent. This series sold out as well.

While all this was happening, I went through a divorce and learned that the artists had lost the lease at the Fayetteville Underground and that we would have to move out in January. It was a lot to take in and handle, and truthfully I am not sure if I really handled it or just put it aside while I focused on what I could control, which was my work. I am very lucky to have such a good and solid support network of friends.

Sometimes I love you and other stories debuted in September and Stewart returned to Fayetteville as well. He designed a brilliant postcard for my show, updated my website and created a promotional video that I adore. It was a wonderful time and I sold nine pieces during my exhibition. Also two of these paintings were selected for publication in CALYX journal. CALYX has been publishing a high-quality journal of art and literature by women since it was founded in 1976.

Sometimes I love you and other stories from stewart bremner on Vimeo.

In December four of my Sometimes I love you and other other stories works are shown in Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the Winter Wonderland exhibition at the UNION gallery. I love that the works are shown next to Stewart's on the gallery wall across the ocean which seemed fitting. I am even more thrilled when my works are written about in this article.

Also in December, I had my first solo exhibition after three years at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They have represented my work since 2004. The exhibition was called, A certain trajectory and was a combination of Falling into Sound and Sometimes I love you works. It was well received and I enjoyed being at the gallery for the opening.

I returned home and realized that I needed to make some more small works for the holidays and I updated my etsy shop artmaven with a new series called, Silently and still. I enjoyed working in my old attic studio as I reflected on my time at the Underground. I participated in my first Cyber Monday sale on Etsy and it went well. I also had a sale of my older color works and many collectors snapped them up at a steal of a deal. While this was happening, my etsy work was being featured consistently in many treasuries.

While I created the last series of the year, Silently and Still,  I started thinking about creating small works in Scotland with limited supplies and space. Soon after, I book my ticket for my trip in January! I am very excited about my upcoming adventure and the opportunities that will come with it. I will be showing new small works that I create in the new year at a cafe that shows art in Edinburgh. The idea of this makes me happy and feels right.

As I let go of my studio and my experiences at the Fayetteville Underground, my exhibition schedule starts filling up for 2012, and I move forward on the path.

2011 concluded with one hundred and nine paintings created and one hundred and ten new and old paintings sold. I am amazed, proud, grateful and very ready to start working on the next series on a different continent.

Thank you to everyone who has had a kind word for me this year or a hug, a smile, an email. Thanks to my supporters and patrons, my gallery owners, my studio mates, special thanks to Jennifer L. Fay for her love and support and for a lot of paper! Thanks to Stewart Bremner for all the music, for inspiring me daily and for doing the impossible. x.

Until next week and next year, keep fighting. The world needs your art!


  1. That is quite a year. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next one holds.

  2. Wow, Megan. Congratulations on all of the work you've done this year.

  3. Very exciting to see a year's worth of your magnificent work collected here! You have navigated this difficult year with beauty and grace; staying true, generous and open. Here is the proof that, as you say, everyday we paint is a victory. I am in awe. xxoo

  4. strength to strength, i continue to watch, admire and be inspired from a corner of the past...
    also & always in awe.

  5. I'm pretty sure I love you. This is incredible and utterly inspiring. A breath of fresh air and an excellent foot to start 2012 with.

    Congrats my dear....paint on.