Friday, November 25, 2016

The perfect day after

I couldn't possibly write another post about my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Or could I? It's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm awake in my parent's house in the country.

Today we will scan more old family photos for my winter genealogy project and eat Thanksgiving leftovers. The cornbread dressing will be even more flavorful and the pumpkin pie will taste even better under a new fresh mound of sweet whipped topping.

Falling into Sound 
Later we will go back into town and explore the bars of downtown and Dickson street with my brother Ben and stay up late in a borrowed house taking turns playing music and impressing each other with our good taste. It's the perfect day after. I will sell my brother an older painting and will be very happy that it will be staying in the family. I will ship it to Atlanta in the coming days.

I know the holiday is winding down and I can start to feel the toll of different time zones and mattresses but I am not ready to go back just yet. We have just over one more week left with the bright red leaves, open roads, nature sounds and family stories. I want to slow down time and breathe it all in.

All I know is that time travel is wonderful.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Foundations of work

I am sitting in a borrowed kitchen writing this blog once again from Fayetteville, Arkansas. This time I am not jet lagged. It is 1:30 in the afternoon on a glorious fall day. Chet Baker plays from my computer as I sit next to an open window and the sun casts shadows across the table. I can hear the wind in the tops of the trees. This is paradise. The temperature has dropped and more leaves have fallen, brisk, earthy, fresh and clean.

This is my hometown. I breathe it all in.

There is so much wrong with America but within my friends, family and community here, there is the best of America. There is culture, innovation, humor, intellect, creativity, empathy and sharing. The hospitality shown to us on this holiday has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The light dances across walls, the wooden floor creaks under foot and the stars shine bright in the country sky. The laughter is easy and the hushed whisper stories are contagious. The beans and cornbread my mom makes are still the best.

The birds are singing sweetly outside and I recognize their calls. They ground me here and now. In someone else's house, I am home.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Blue skies, trains whistles and open hearts

It's 3:30 in the morning. I am awake and writing this blog in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the place of my birth and my old stomping grounds. I have jet lag, so I thought I would use this wakefulness to write here before I try to get some more sleep. I used to always wake up in Fayetteville at 3 a.m. so this feels about right anyway.

I hear the old train in the distance and there is a chill in the air. The punchy autumn leaves are beautiful whether still in the trees or scattered on the lawns and sidewalks. The air is thinner here, smells of grass and is a bit sweet. The sky was the most amazing shade of blue yesterday.

The insects and birds sing their songs which are instantly relaxing, familiar and old fashioned. Even though my town has changed and grown it feels delightfully empty to me now. One can still walk down the middle of the streets and have all the personal space you want as walkers are few and far between. It looks like a movie set. An old friend now owns the perfect little music shop filled with beautiful instruments and another one owns a record store of dreams, seemingly from a time when record stores were the epicenter of everything. Old friends can still be met on the street for conversation, consolation, laughs and hugs. One can see and hear from everyone you are meant to without too much arrangement or formality. It's so easy and sweet, still.

At lunch, a waitress brings an extra fork when only one desert is ordered and says "That's for you darlin'- this stuff is good for the soul..." Hospitality is everywhere and people are effusive even in this dark time for America and the world. I realize that my open heart and my resilience were created here on the streets and wild spaces and with the people of this sweet town. I am grateful for this comfort and knowledge.

This blog is not about art but at the same time it is. The spirit of this town is in every piece I make.

Mural by Alexis Diaz

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sogo Magazine!

I needed to buy some varnish this past weekend so off we went to Greyfriar's art supply on Dundas street and there it was... Sogo Magazine!

I was so excited to see the magazine in a rack by the counter with Alasdair Gray's cover drawing. I grabbed a copy to purchase along with my varnish and then decided I better grab two. As soon as I hit the pavement outside the shop, I had a good flip through this beautiful and elegant publication. The reproductions were stunning and the paper was wonderful. Truly a top notch publication, well designed and filled with great art and artists and brilliantly written articles. 

I excitedly read bits of Brian McFie's article, The Beautiful Mind Laid Open, about my work outside on the street to Stewart as we walked on to a nearby pub to celebrate. Stewart took these mobile photos around the corner against a wall on Circus Lane to capture the moment. I was giddy.

I took to social media and shared a quote from the article soon after. I will share it again here along with a few others but truly I hope if you are in Scotland that you will find a copy of the magazine locally or go online and subscribe. It is obvious how hard everyone involved works on Sogo from how much energy, talent and passion is contained within the pages.

This article means more to me than I can properly articulate but simply put, it is what I have been working for all these years and what I will continue to work for. To have my art seen, understood and appreciated in this way is balm for my soul. To have my art written about in this manner in my adopted home of Scotland is just the right kind of fuel for my fire and inspires me to keep going and assures me that I am in the right place, doing the right work. This validation is beyond compare and I am grateful. Thank you to Brian McFie for taking the time to see and engage with my work in this way and for articulating his experience in print.

So here are a few select quotes from Brian McFie's piece that brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. 

"I ventured downstairs and was delighted when confronted by three works on canvas by Megan. Much bolder in real life and just as dynamic as I hoped they would be. The handling of the media employed had a thoroughly informed power behind it."

"The composition was dynamic, the approach searching, it's creator pushing limits and tussling with philosophical, poetic and metaphysical questions and ideas."

"This is difficult territory. One has to be brave to go there. To my mind the name Megan Chapman will eventually be held in as high esteem as Mitchell, Frankenthaler, and De Kooning. (Elaine that is, her work should be held in as high esteem as Willem's). These artists should in turn be revered as much as their male counterparts, Twombly, Motherwell, Rauschenberg and Pollock."

"It is clear to me that this artist, an American, far from home embarked on a journey, which is traveled to this day both inwardly and outwardly. The work speaks to the heart of the heart from the heart. It is a profoundly enriching body of work. As with earth, water and air. Essential."

I held my breath the first time I read a rough draft of this piece. My face turned red. I closed my eyes and blinked to make sure of what I was reading. My work had been seen and understood and the evidence of this was in print. I was understandably floored. 

I have given my life to this calling. It is a hard path at times and doesn't always make that much sense to some (including myself). Sometimes though, something like this article happens and then everything makes sense. I smile to myself and for a little while, I know exactly what I am doing and why. I breathe in this victory, put my headphones back on and get back to work.

" the heart, of the heart, from the heart."