Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 year end review

Happy New Year! If you are a regular reader, you may remember that I usually end the year with a lengthy post to remind myself of my accomplishments and experiences in art during the past year.

To start, the most important practice I have engaged in this past year has been to re-commit to writing this blog. I am very proud that I have returned to this ritual after unsuccessfully exploring other formats. This blog provides an important foundation for me and writing here each week (mostly) since 2007 has been one of the best gifts I have ever given to myself and my work. I appreciate those of you who have read and responded in some way to my words here. Thank you.

January: This month marked the start of my second year in studio G23 at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street in Leith. I thank my lucky stars every day for this space. The studio space kept evolving as I became more familiar with it and more committed to working there. My studio practice started off strong at the beginning of 2016, spurred by December 2015 sales allowing for new supplies to be purchased.

February: I was offered a solo exhibition of recent works at The Tide Gallery and Coffee Shop in Portobello, Edinburgh. I remember feeling very pleased and happy that my large pieces were going to be on show across from the beach. It was a lovely venue and the eight pieces from my Delicate Balance series filled the space perfectly. The exhibition that was planned to be a two-week engagement, was held over for two more, making it a month long! 

In other exhibition news in February, Cupola Gallery in Sheffield decided to keep my paintings I had sent them the previous November for further exhibition. Stateside, my work was shown at The University of Tulsa at the Zarrow Center for Art & Education, alongside some of my esteemed, fellow Arkansan abstract painters in the exhibition, Abstract ARt.

March: I worked on a series of small paintings as well as a new large series of canvases. The small series, made up of twelve pieces became known as Deliciously lost againThe color yellow ochre was the driving force in the studio at this time. I started saving the blotter papers from my process and dreamed of ways to use them in future projects. I struggled with balance, ebb and flow as I worked on the larger pieces.

April: I finished a large 100x150cm painting and shipped several small paintings to the states. I happily communicated with a patron about an upcoming commission and continued to work on a new painting. I completed nine paintings in the large works series entitled, "A shift in the weather." I enjoyed an outing to East Lothian to visit fellow artist Louise Blamire, I left with my head filled with inspiration and hope.

May: I worked on the special Stateside commission and enjoyed using materials I had never used before. I always love a challenge. I was also interviewed for Edinburgh based, Portfolio Oomph for their meet the artist/teacher feature. I really appreciated this opportunity. It was during this month that I was invited to show four of my Delicate Balance and two of my Shift in the Weather paintings in the ReUnion exhibition at the newly relocated Union gallery in Edinburgh.

June: The ReUnion exhibition continued at Union Gallery and I continued working in the studio completing and shipping the commission piece to The States. We took a short trip to Paris to see my brother, his family and his band. To be in such a city of culture was breathtaking.

July: I started a new small series of paintings called "I love the broken things best" sadly this series didn't materialize in the way I hoped. I made two paintings in the series and then a new series arrived like a bolt of lightning. Magenta entered the scene. I am so excited about this series, I write a friend and even told my parents that "I love color so much it makes me want to grind my teeth to dust." The series came on strong but then stalled out just as quickly. I found this very frustrating. 

I turned my attention to having archival prints made. I was excited to offer this new range of my work as I am adamant that art should be for all people. I wanted my prints to be made here in Edinburgh and to support a local business in the process so that's why I chose a fellow artist and dear friend, Jenni Douglas' printing service. I spent a good amount of time ramping up my social media campaigns on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in order to promote these new prints. 

August: I was informed that several pieces of my work were going to be kept on display at Union Gallery for the month of August, during the festival time for maximum exposure. I am delighted! In the meantime, I struggled with the current series "A change in the frequency." My collection of blotter papers grew as I worked. It was a reflective time spent engaged in the studio process and never-ending social media. 

September: During this month I returned to an abandoned small series and created one of my best paintings of the year. I completed five new small works and released more paintings as small prints. Patrons seemed to enjoy these additions as well and thanks to sales more materials were purchased. On September 25th, I marked my two year anniversary of living in Scotland.

October: I made another country jaunt to see Louise for inspiration and nature and then I was back to it with an addition of three more new small works. During this time, I decided that I have indeed finished the four large pieces in the "Frequency" series. 

In big news, I was interviewed by artist and art editor, Brian McFie for SOGO magazine. "SOGO magazine is a Scottish based quarterly lifestyle and arts publication, which promotes and provides a platform for Scottish creative industries and communities." It is a beautiful publication based in Glasgow and the Autumn 2016 issue included a beyond wonderful piece about my work. 

I continued to work on small pieces as I tried to contain my excitement about the article. I also added three more prints to my available collection. I deep cleaned my studio and created more storage, I was very pleased with this.

November: SOGO Magazine came out and I was ecstatic! Get yourself a copy of this gorgeous magazine. It is available all over Scotland and through their website. Here is an excerpt from this time: 

"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 a 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."

After this most wondrous event, Stewart and I took a three week holiday to see my parents and friends in Arkansas for the rest of the month. It was wonderful to bask in the sunshine, brightly colored leaves and the southern hospitality. It was important for me to remember where I am from and how this factors into my work and into my everything. You can take the woman out of Arkansas but you can't take the Arkansas out of the woman and why would anyone want to? It was a good holiday and I even sold two large paintings to collectors in Los Angeles and Atlanta from my archive. Thanks to everyone who made our time in Arkansas so beautiful and sweet. It did my soul good.

December: We arrived back from Arkansas via Brussels a few hours later than scheduled, jet lagged and without luggage on December 1. I participated in Open Studios at the Drill Hall on December 3rd. It was good to see friends and family in Edinburgh and sell some small originals and prints at the event. The rest of the month was taken up with holiday markets, holiday shopping and family and friends over the festive season and that brings us to today, my year end review. 

In closing here are some bullet points for easy digestion (mostly for myself). 

Maintained my weekly studio blog.
Solo exhibition at The Tide
Online interview in Portfolio Oomph.
Two group exhibition opportunities at Union gallery.
Continued relationship with Cupola Gallery in Sheffield.
Group exhibition at the University of Tulsa back in the states. 
Extraordinary feature article in SOGO magazine.

Twelve large works created (with three in progress).
One medium sized commission completed.
Twenty small works created (with many more in various states of progress).
Fifteen of my small works are now offered as signed limited edition prints.

Sold Twenty-five originals from various series, including small and large works on canvas and paper.
Sold thirty prints from my newest series.
Sold six prints from my older series.

Besides all of this, I am perhaps most happy about the relationships I have formed with other artists and patrons throughout the year. These relationships have sustained me and kept me inspired via social media and out in the world. Special shout out to my Glasgow area patrons and friends, you know who you are!

I traveled, I saw art, and I lived my life. I maintained my health, relationships, and remained as ever, an artist. As I write this blog, I have seen lapses, weaknesses, and plenty of things I could have done differently, but 2016 was 2016 and now it's time to move on. Thanks to everyone who supports my work and reads this blog. You and your encouragement are my currency of hope and you mean the world to me. 

Until next year, keep fighting! 2017 may require more fight than usual and will certainly require you and your art! I'll show up if you will.


  1. Thank you for being such a joyous find for me in 2016 Megan. Your works have helped me through many difficulties, and better times. All the very best for 2017 and never stop finding inspiration. Love the banner, keep looking forward!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Jim. Thanks especially for your patronage and support over the past year. It really means a lot to me and I enjoyed our art conversation. Glad you got new brakes as well as art in the past year! :) You are a winner! I'll send you a print soon! And yes, I have your address. :)

  2. I really enjoy your end of year reviews and this one shows what a varied full year you have had. You've set yourself up for continuing successes, best wishes for 2017

    1. Thank you very much, Philip! Best wishes to you in 2017 too! Here's to all the art and adventure we can handle! You are a winner! I will send you your print soon!

  3. What a wonderful review - your success is testament to your hard work and commitment! You're an inspiration, thank you 😊

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Maz! Happy New Year! You are a winner! Please email me your address or send it to fb messenger and I will send you your print! :)

  4. What a full year you have had. Can't wait to see what amazing work 2017 brings for you. All the best for the year ahead

    1. Thank you so much for your supportive comment, Evelyn. Happy New Year to you! You are a winner! Please email me your address or send it on fb and I will get you your print! :)