Friday, July 27, 2012

As July comes to a close...

Distance becomes us
Mixed media on panel 12x12"
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner
As I write this there are only five days left in July and it is heavy on my mind that Stewart Bremner is returning to Scotland on the last day of the month. There are exciting things going on and there are some big things planned for the future but the fact that we are about to be separated after getting to spend seven months together takes the lead in my mind.

I wish I was going to Scotland too. Sometimes when I look at the photographs from my trip tears come to my eyes. I can't believe I was there for four months and that I got to see and absorb so much art, architecture and of course the atmosphere. It seems like a dream. It wasn't always easy or even always fun but I would like to do it again. I have to hope that I will.

The three months that Stewart has been here have been filled with art, whether creating our A place called home series or installing and promoting various exhibitions, we have been busy. Art consumes us and our time. It is wonderful to be able to create it together. We are lucky.

I tell myself this will be a time of even more concentrated work. I have projects planned that I hope to see to fruition. I have a new gallery relationship to nurture. I am also a member of a network of artists that will be meeting weekly as an action team to encourage and promote our work and our goals. I have a new body of work I would like to get started on. I have travel debts to pay off and need to focus on living within my means so that I can travel again. I also need to just focus on my health and well being. So far this year has been busy, wonderful and more than exhausting; it is time to refill the well and move forward.

Thanks for being a part of it all. Thanks for reading our blogs, tweets, and facebook posts. Thanks for coming to our exhibitions, for sharing our art and our story. We are grateful for all the support and love we have been given.

Now, until next time there are still five days left in July and the lovely Stewart Bremner is in the kitchen making our lunch and I can't wait to enjoy it with him and enjoy what the future holds as it comes one day at a time.

PS. If you are local to Northwest Arkansas please come to the reception for my exhibition Hush at the Fayetteville Public Library on Saturday August 4th from 3-5pm. Chances are I am going to need a hug.

Friday, July 20, 2012

We built a nest of letters...

A few works from Hush at The Fayetteville Public Library
What a week!

Monday started with an interesting and exciting business meeting and some great views. Tuesday, there was a much needed get together with theatre maven Erika Wilhite. Wednesday I enjoyed a day off and some giving of time in honor of Nelson Mandela and then yesterday there was another good meeting and the installation of my latest exhibition, Hush, at the Fayetteville Public Library. Today, Stewart Bremner and I are being interviewed for a feature in the Free Weekly about our current exhibition, A place called home, which continues through July 27th at the Arts Center of the Ozarks.

Never a dull moment in my art world and for that I am grateful.

Yesterday after Hush was installed on the walls of the library, I do what I always do, I take a minute to absorb the new exhibition space and the work I have done. I viewed the familiar paintings with new eyes as a viewer and not the artist. I read each painting with words and I studied the pure abstracts and I marvel yet again how a space changes with art, how the blank room I entered was not the same and how even the paintings change as they take on their new surroundings.

I have to say I think the library is a particularly perfect fit for this body of work. As always, there is that quiet moment when I just look and a calm comes over me. I relish that fleeting moment of complete satisfaction after watching the work slide into place to fit the space. There is a zen to putting up an exhibition, less is always more as space is required so the work can breathe and truly be seen. I felt so serene as I was doing my walk through. At one point a young woman, who I know from many openings, looked up from her computer, smiled and whispered across the room, "Megan, your work looks really great in here..." Thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. Her face was so wide open and she wasn't saying anything more or less. I smiled and I floated out of the room, Yes, my work looks really great in here...

Here is my statement for Hush.

Megan Chapman’s exhibition, Hush, brings together three recent bodies of work into one. In it viewers will find works from the artist’s popular series, Falling into sound, Sometimes I love you
and other stories
and From across the ocean. All of these paintings are part of what the artist terms her White Series, that began in 2009 and continues today.

In Falling into sound, the artist began the transition into more minimalist work, using a near monochromatic palette. These paintings are quiet and meditative but also buzzing with layers
of subtle colors and texture. Two of these pieces are featured in this exhibition, Sometimes and Falling into sound.

Many of the paintings that make up both Sometimes I love you and other stories and From across the ocean, feature words written using an old manual typewriter and vintage paper. The words are
the artist’s own and reflect her thoughts while being in a new long distance relationship with Scottish artist, Stewart Bremner.

The small framed paper works, from the artist’s most recent series From across the ocean, document the artist’s first journey overseas, when she spent four months in Edinburgh, Scotland. The lines echo
the geology of the area, the sea and the atmosphere of the grey winter sky. Simple words and lines are used to stage these moments and hold them in a type of permanence.

Megan Chapman’s Hush brings all of these works together and into a new light. These works are not unlike chapters in a book, each a little different but very much connected in the telling of a story, not
only about the artist but also about the viewer.

Hush will be on display July 19th through September 4th in the Reading Room on the second floor of the Fayetteville Public Library. An artist's reception will be on August 4 from 3-5 in the Walker Community Room.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Some other future

A trace of the familiar
Mixed media on panel 12x12"
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner

Oops! It's Sunday... This rarely happens, but I do apologize for not being here on Friday. It has been an extremely busy and exciting week in my art world and that is the only good reason to be a little late in writing my studio blog! Thanks for your patience.

As many of you know, Tuesday night was the opening for Stewart Bremner and my exhibition, A place called home. It was an intimate affair at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale with many of our dear friends from Northwest Arkansas in attendance. It was lovely to see their smiling faces and hear their encouraging words. The show looked great and the work was well received.

A word about quiet
Mixed media on panel 12x12"
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner

 If you are local to Northwest Arkansas and have not yet made it to Arts Center of the Ozarks to see our exhibition, please do. A place called home, will be on display until July 27th. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9-5pm and Saturday 9-3pm. The Arts Center of the Ozarks in located at 214 S. Main St. in Springdale, Arkansas.

In other news, the day after our reception we headed down to Hot Springs and Little Rock with fellow artist Jennifer Libby Fay. I had gallery business to attend to in Hot Springs. Jennifer just took all new work to the Justus Gallery and I collected my remaining works from the Blue Moon Gallery so that I can use them in some upcoming exhibitions and bring them some fresh work later this fall. I also discovered I sold a piece from the Blue Moon as well. Sales are always needed and appreciated and remain a thrill.

Some other future
Mixed media on panel 12x12"
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner

After our Hot Springs excursion, we headed to Little Rock, where I had a lovely meeting with Kyle Boswell of Boswell-Mourot Fine Art. After a successful meeting, I am thrilled to now be represented by Boswell-Mourot Fine Art! They also have galleries in Miami and one is planned for Berlin! Of course I hope my work makes an appearance in all their galleries. I am very ready to expand my reach. It feels like it will be a good fit. I really liked the work showing in the gallery and the aesthetic of the spaced flowed and the attitude of the gallery owner seemed to match mine in regards to the purpose and need of art with the artist's best interests in mind. We will see what happens!

This week I will be hanging my work at the beautiful and award winning Fayetteville Public Library. My exhibition will be in the reading room on the second floor. It is a beautiful light filled space and I am looking forward to putting that exhibition together for the community. I will let you all know the dates of the exhibition and when a reception is scheduled... stay tuned.

We live between hills
Mixed media on panel 12x12"
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner

There are some other exciting developments happening currently in my art career, but I need to learn a little more before I can report on them in my blog. Let's just say, I am full of hope and excited and grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way. This has been an exciting but financially stressful year and it looks like it may turn around here soon...

Of course in the back of my mind is always that fact that Stewart will return to Scotland soon, July 31st to be exact. This fact clouds things but if I view it in the right light, it is another opportunity to work hard and learn more about myself and organize and prepare for the next time we are together whether in America or in Scotland and one day, we might actually find a place called home...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Make a list: six months in review

Oh July... you are already here?

It was just January, yesterday. I was just getting ready for my trip, for my adventure in Edinburgh. Where has the time gone? The first six months of the year seemed to vanish in a blink and it is so easy to forget what was accomplished and experienced. I need to remember for myself. I need to inspire myself for the next half of the year. We have six more months to really make this year shine bright and make things happen.

So, bear with me as I have a personal and professional recap.

The first four months of the year were spent in Scotland. That is still a huge thing for me and still something that doesn't seem quite real. I look forward to getting nostalgic about it one day soon, I simply haven't had the time to look back lately. The first four months of the year were spent soaking up another culture, a ton of art, people, being with Stewart in his flat and seeing him work on his amazing body of work, Worlds Apart, and getting to spend time and meet his family, and of course making art! Another highlight was meeting all my artist friends in Scotland and England and just solidifying the bonds and making my global art community more human and real. It was an amazing four months. I documented it all through art, words, and photographs.

During that time in Edinburgh, I had four canvas pieces from my series Sometimes I love you and other stories on display as part of the Winter Wonderland group exhibition at Union Gallery. It was a wonderful thing to be able to see my work on the wall in such a lovely gallery so far from home. Also in January but back home in Arkansas, the second month of my solo exhibition, A Certain Trajectory continued at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs. Also happening in Arkansas was Stewart Bremner's and my combined exhibition I thought I would find you here at the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville in March and April.

Besides touristy stuff I also created forty-four new small works while I was in Scotland which became my From Across the Ocean series that was then on exhibition in March at Embo in Edinburgh. My first solo international exhibition the same week as I turned forty. Not a bad way to celebrate.

Stewart and I returned to Fayetteville Arkansas in the beginning of May and hit the ground running. Besides reconnecting with many of our friends and my family here, we participated in the Block St. Block party and had such a cute little art booth. I loved the cardboard letters that spelled out our names that Stewart meticulously cut. After Block street I put my attic studio back together after moving move it from the old underground right before I left town in January. I was pretty pleased with how my studio came together and rejoiced at having windows and even a tiny patch of view! I got busy and ordered supplies for, a place called home. As soon as I had our panels by Perrodin Supply Co. we started to work on our new series. During this same time and with Stewart's help, I finally launched A Manual for Living as a set of limited edition prints to sell in my etsy shop.

Stewart Bremner, Jennifer Libby Fay and I also organized the eastprospect exhibition and put on a wonderful international exhibition of ten artists for two days only. It was a great event and something for all the artists that participated in to feel proud of. After this Stewart and I had to regain focus on our own personal work and really get serious about A place called home. We created fifteen all new paintings that we are extremely proud of.

Besides all this I have applied for grants, additional gallery representation, been published in art/literary journals and revamped my etsy shop and have an exhibition scheduled at the Fayetteville Public Library later in July.

I want to be very clear for myself here: Since the new year I have been in or have scheduled: five solo or featured exhibitions and have been in three group shows. I have made forty-four new small works and have created fifteen new collaborative paintings with Stewart Bremner. In the first six months of the year I have sold thirty-three pieces of original art (albeit mostly small works on paper) and fourteen prints.

Times have been hard financially and my sales are down considerably from the past two years due to gallery/studio closures, but when I look at this I can clearly see that I am working hard and that I am producing the work I need to produce and in this economy it just takes a little more careful planning and creative thinking to make it all come together. I am lucky to be an artist, to have the studio I do and to have the support network and patrons that I do. I am grateful. The first six months of 2012 has been a challenging, thrilling, exhausting, productive and comfort zone stretching time but no matter what, I wouldn't trade it in for anything. Thanks for being a part of it. You are instrumental to my progress on the path. Thanks and love to all my friends, family, patrons and supporters and especially to Stewart for helping me along the way.

Dear Artists... now please go make your own lists. What have you been up to? Leave no stone unturned, count it up, validate yourself in the process and share and inspire us all. You have had a better year than you think! Feel free to share your first six month lists in the comments or post a blog link about it. Until next week keep fighting...

And locals... Join us!
A place called home
New paintings by Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Tuesday June 10th from 6-8pm
Arts Center of the Ozarks
Springdale, Arkansas