Saturday, May 24, 2014

The week I learned to breathe again

The week I learned to breathe again
photo © 2014 Megan Chapman
I am finding it hard to come up with eloquent words for "things aren't going too well." I am known for my "dream it, do it" cheer leading and mentoring style of "keep fighting" and "onwards and upwards" etc etc... but I am all out of that currently.

However, even in the worst of times, I will stand by Art. I will stand behind my art and my ability to create relationships around it. I will stand by my ability to encourage others to sell their brilliant work. I will stand by this profession. I will know that art has given me a rich and varied life filled with discovery, self empowerment and understanding. I will know art has given me my mental health as much or more than it has destroyed it.

Studying art at the University of Oregon was the greatest gift I could have ever given myself, it was the true beginning of my independence. Art taught me how to think and see and how to discuss things critically without being cruel. Art taught me how to learn about different viewpoints and styles. Art taught me how to create on a deadline, dream up my own stories and find my tribe of people when I had always felt like an outsider. Art allowed me to put my varied emotions all in one place and into a clear channel of creation.

I have sold a lot art in these nineteen years since my first professional exhibition. I have created a lot as well and luckily I don't have a closet of doom packed with unsold works.  However, I am sure there is a gallery or two that wishes some of my older work would sell so they would have more room in their closets. I am fortunate that I have a dedicated following and community of patrons and fellow artists that respect my work and value me.

Currently, this is not enough to pay the bills. It has been in the past and it will be again in the future but it is a struggle. These past four years have been the biggest struggle of my life but thanks to art I am still here. I am still filled with the belief that things will get better and it is not the time (nor will it ever be) to give up on my art. When you know why you are on the planet it is hard to just walk away.

Sometimes all I can hear in my head is "it's time to end this charade." However, I am not going to stop. I am not going to give in. I am not going to quit. This is not obstinacy on my part, this is faith and drive. This is a call to action.

Luckily, the cheerleader doesn't stay down for long.

Alright, I'll say it. Keep fighting, the world needs you and your art...

I wrote one blog in my mind and typed another. This is because of you. Thank you. x

Donating = Loving

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Still working on it.... Back to regularly programming soon, folks.

12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

Donating = Loving

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A tricky time...

I've been busy figuring out what is next and how to keep living as an artist. It's been a tricky time.

After the fire
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman
Donating = Loving

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Work it : A review of months

Springtime flowers

Hello all!

Sorry for my delay in posting my blog. I have had about six different blog topics swimming around in my head and I couldn't land on just one.

I feel the need for a little gathering of the evidence time for myself. This is purely a selfish exercise and if you read this blog often enough you will know I do this everyone once in awhile. I don't always know if I have been productive enough for my standards unless I read what I have done. The days are shooting past and I am just not sure what happened to them. Such a blur. What have I been doing with my art since January? I must examine the time.


I completed my commission for Royal Blind as part of their first ever Royal Blind Week aiming to raise awareness and vital funds for the services they offer for the blind and partially sighted. My work was also featured on the Royal Blind's website alongside an interview with me as well. I really enjoyed creating the painting and so glad I was able to participate in the exhibition in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In publishing news, I was notified that Pocket full of live wires from my 2010 series, Falling into Sound would be published alongside a poem written by New Hampshire's state poet laureate Alice B. Fogel entitled Full of Life. Ms. Fogel's poem was written in response to my painting and will be published in the journal LETTERS produced by students from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. After receiving that great news, I was contacted again by the editor of the journal and asked if I would be interested in having two of my Ghosts of the past series of works published as well.

I also offered one of my Ghosts of the past paintings as a reproduction to the Creative Action Network in partnership with Obama's Organizing For Action. United for Reform crowdsources artwork for immigration reform, a cause near to my heart.

It was during this time that it was confirmed that the American debut of my Ghosts of the Past Exposed series had been picked up by a gallery. I had a lovely exhibition at the Anne Kittrell Gallery at the University of Arkansas. The exhibition was on display February 17th - March 7th. There was an article about the exhibition in the University's newspaper and on their website as well.

In other creation news, at the end of January I completed a small complicated work that gave me all kinds of wonderful trouble, called I will. This piece was sent to Scotland for an exhibition at Little Ox Gallery in Edinburgh.


I started off the month making fourteen cards from a new series called handmade love. The cards were initially created because of Valentine's Day. I wanted to create the kind of card that I would like to receive or give. They were a joy to make. 

By the middle to late February all the paintings in exhibitions were up and on display, whether it was the Ghosts of the past exhibition at the University of Arkansas or the larger painting in the Royal Blind Exhibition or the small work in the Little Ox gallery exhibition, Here We Are. It was a joy to be participating in two internationally group shows and one local solo exhibition. 

Towards the end of the month I painted four more new works in a continuation of my abstract landscape works on paper inspired by Scotland. I was very pleased with the reception of this popular series.


At the beginning of the month, I found myself wanting to use my studio space more and try to feel comfortable and at home in the space as I have been more or less nomadic ever since the old underground closed. It was good to spend time in my attic studio and get ready to work again on larger works.

It was also at this time that I started planning a series of four, two hour workshops on the business aspect of art. I was hoping to teach this locally but for now I am looking forward to marketing this online as a subscription service in the near future. 

Also during this month, I had an impromptu spring sale of some of my older color works from 2004/5 and one that remained from 2009. I found 4 out of the 5 paintings new homes! It was lovely to connect with folks that were excited to get a larger piece of mine for a great price. I was so pleased. 

Later in March, with the exhibitions now complete there was time for some contemplation about making art, why I do it, my identity as an artist and feasibility of it all. It was a bit of doubtful time. Even with the successes in my career it just felt a bit like it was all slipping away and that perhaps I should give up. But, I didn't. I started painting in my studio again and getting more comfortable up there all the while. First working on a older color piece and then leaving it behind to start a new series.

I also decided to offer a selection of some of my older color works from 2008's Evidence of the Disappearance series as archival reproductions over on Society6.

At the end of the month the Spring 2014 issue of LETTERS was published. I was honored to have my work featured on the cover and three of my paintings within the journal from YALE as well.


I was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Scottish Society of Northwest Arkansas. I gave a talk about my project, my research and my time in Scotland. It was a lovely meeting and really the highlight of the month. I showed my entire Ghosts of the past body of work to the attentive audience and loved the intimate setting of the event. It was a lovely opportunity that I fully enjoyed.

I kept working on my new series in the studio, they were evolving in a way I never really imagined but then at the same time it was perfect. I love it when art becomes serendipitous and teaches me while I create it. This new series is all about this life and the rebuilding process; a process that I know all too well from recent years. 

Then suddenly in mid April I was having amazing conversations about art and was brought back to life. I know that sounds dramatic but it was so good to be back in the thick of it, making the art I needed to make, writing the blogs that needed writing and having these deep conversations and feeling understood and in my element. It had been such a long time since I had felt this way. I produced 8 new paintings that knocked my socks off. These paintings, I believe represent a shift in my thinking, my beliefs, my self esteem and my worth as a woman and as an artist. They are strong at the same time fragile, they are beautiful at the same time raw, they are as much about rebuilding as they are tearing down. I will be good to these works as they have been good to me. 

This month I also started a group on facebook called Women's Work. I wanted a place where women artists could share their art, inspirations, ideas and struggles. A place to celebrate all the art that women create and to learn about new artists and ideas. It's just getting started but so far it seems like a good space. I would like to curate exhibitions out of the group eventually and do more with it as it unfolds. We have to create the change we want to see.

May (early days yet, have a lot of time to do good things)

I have been working in my studio on some more new 12x12" works on panel from the series I revealed last week. I am currently researching potential exhibitions and galleries in which to show these new works. I also recently completed a 9x12" commission on paper. I have a large commission that I am looking forward to starting in the near future. But first I must finish the rest of this series. I would like to paint on larger panels. We will see if it is in the cards. And yes, I do commissions, so if you are in the market please contact me!

4 months (and a touch of May) have come and gone. I have participated in two international group exhibitions, had a solo exhibition, supported two causes near to my heart through my art, was published, enjoyed a public speaking engagement and created thirty-three works this year so far.

I'll be honest, this is a hard gig. I keep going but it keeps getting harder to maintain a life lived in honor of my true calling and my passion. In the past I wondered if I even had a right to live my life in this way. I have come to a conclusion. I do. I have the right to make and create my art, write my truth and sing my songs. It doesn't always pay but I am going to do it. You know this about me.

Donating = Loving