Friday, August 16, 2019

Our Minimalist Secrets: Exhibition and Gallery News!

This week I turned my attention in the studio back to the book series. I am excited to be part of Art Walk Porty - The Artist's Book Market, next month at the Dalriada located right on the Portobello Promenade across from the sea in Edinburgh. Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of September from 11am-4pm. Click the link to read more about the participants and mark your calendars and make plans to attend. I would love to see you there. Learn more here (it's a gorgeous website so do click on that link).

I love the freedom that working in the books allows. As this is not my primary format, I feel like I can do anything and take even more risks and chances. The yellowed and torn books and scrolls can become sculptural and raw to hold our minimalist secrets.

In other exciting exhibition news, I just sent two paintings to the inaugural exhibition at a new gallery in Glasgow! John Doyle Art located at 23 Parnie Street aims to bring a new and eclectic collection of formidable artists together under one roof. I am honoured to be part of the mix. There will be an opening reception next Friday, the 23rd of August from 6-9pm. 

These are the two paintings you can enjoy and purchase there.

A delicate balance
Acrylic, charcoal on canvas
© 2015 Megan Chapman
Currently available through Doyle Art in Glasgow.
Contact the gallery to purchase.

Remember this place
Acrylic, charcoal on canvas
© 2015 Megan Chapman
Currently available through Doyle Art in Glasgow.
Contact the gallery to purchase.

As some of you may recall these two pieces were published in a wonderful article by the arts editor of SOGO Magazine at the time, fellow artist and now friend, Brian McFie. You can read the article here if you missed it the first time around. Brian will also be showing his work with Doyle Art. Again, I am delighted to be showing in a gallery in Glasgow. This is another first for me!

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, follows and supports my work on the various forms of social media, and has supported my work in all the various brick and mortar galleries along the way. Thank you! 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Living on the fault line

A new painting from this week

I can feel the sun as it shines on my legs, the doors are open onto the yard of the studio on this, the third week of my lucky artist's residency. It's been raining like cats and dogs and angry ones at that, with the weather being more like Arkansas than Scotland this past week.

I am listening to REM's album Murmer as this place reminds me of it and takes me back again to my youthful summers spent dreaming of somewhere else. I watch the swallows dart in and around as the buddleia sprouts from the corners of the slate roof. Faded blue and green painted arched wooden doors come into view as this morning's rain puddles reflect the light.

I sit and write and breathe and feel content even when the world is going to shit. This morning I cried and then meditated (some call it prayer) for the children in cages and now the new ones left without parents in Mississippi. I know my meditations can't help them and I cry over the trauma that they will be left with. I am half a world away, sitting in the sun thinking about institutional racism and I am thinking about painting. I can think about both and I can choose to think about one more than the other because of my white privilege. This troubles me but not like it troubles those without this skin.

In my privileged world, I am learning to be okay with being happy and sad, civil and angry, content and yet aware of the world and its injustice. I wade into these grey murky waters, this muddled way of being, the dark and light within and the imperfection and humanity of us all.

I walk each step learning that nothing has to be "good" or "perfect" and I keep painting.

Living on the fault line
If you missed Tuesday's Studio Video Visit, you can see it again here.
Until next week, keep fighting.

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings rejoice in the wellbeing of others
May all beings live in peace, free from greed and hatred.

Consider making a donation to the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. "MIRA envisions a Mississippi that supports, protects, and welcomes immigrants from across the globe working hand-in-hand to create a thriving community called home." If you donate directly to them they have access to the money quickly so they can help these families hit hardest by the latest ICE raids. Donate here.

Thank you. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Something real and true, aged and worn

It is week two of my artist's residency. I am sitting outside the studio door listening to music and the sounds of the traffic on the road just outside the gate as I type this. This week went by so fast. I painted Monday, laying the grounds/underpaintings for two new 16x20"/41x51cm pieces. I hadn't painted on that sized canvas in a while and I really enjoyed it. On Tuesday, I finished those two pieces off and filmed my Tuesday Studio Video Visit. If you missed it, here it is again. I show you the progress of the space and the series of works.

I took a few phone shots of my work and space as well. Here are the two pieces I completed this week. I am especially pleased with the first piece. You can see the whole dark series as it is progressing here.

On Wednesday, I spent time in the studio, writing rather than painting, just getting some of my ideas clear. I enjoyed spending time in the space, getting used to the light, the birds, butterflies, and outside sounds. A change in scenery and routine are so beneficial. Yesterday, I stayed at home, waiting for deliveries. And today, I was back in the studio, with my massive roll of canvas that had arrived. Who knows what will happen with it. I need to set up a large smooth painting wall before I can really go big. I always paint on pre-stretched canvas as well, so this will present a fun challenge. I am just looking to experiment and explore and that is a relief. To simply work for the sake of it, to be excited and inspired is a gift, as is this space.

I took this photo of the canvas roll in my studio today - I love it. I love the feeling the photo evokes. The old walls, the sculptural roll of canvas, the possibilities. What a thrill.

I cut off a good-sized piece and stapled it to a low long part of the wall and started a large painting today. Another ground/underpainting. Something for me to react against in my next session. I will probably use some of this canvas for my scroll series as well, it's slightly odd canvas but like everything else, I like it's slightly strange qualities. It fits the space, the time and my attitude of exploration and openness.

There is something about this place tucked away behind the gate - the old stables are filled with nothing but possibility. I can make something here, something rough and dirty - something real and true, aged and worn. My heart is wrapped in the dust of the past. I imagined this type of place when I was a teenager while sitting and smoking under the old railroad bridge back home. With music in my ears, old beer cans at my feet, surrounded by graffiti, I watched for the slow-moving freight trains. It was poetic, nostalgic, and a dream of my own creation with every new song. I am grateful to be here again. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

What a difference a few days make... Thanks to everyone who read my studio blog (posted this Monday for last Friday). I really appreciate the comments and private messages - I still owe a couple of you replies. Thank you for reading and for your concern, suggestions, and support. You are beautiful people and artists that give and give and give. I see you.

So... I spent most of the day on Monday writing that blog and I felt much better afterward. Thanks to some of the feedback I received, I was planning to take it easy for a spell and spend some time on the wee beach across from the house after I filmed the Tuesday Studio Video Visit. I was getting ready to head out to my studio at the Drill Hall with every intention of filming from the 25th Anniversary exhibition there, but then something else happened. 

I was invited to pop by a fellow artist's studio and have a wee cuppa and a blether. I thought that sounded grand, so off I went, putting my plans for the day on the back burner. I had just purchased a lovely piece of work by this artist about 2 weeks prior. That is when we met for the first time and I was looking forward to saying hello and getting to know this artist better. As luck would have it, her studio was just down the road - a few minutes walk. I had passed the area many times before without notice due to a large gate, this time I entered through a wee door and into a fabulous old complex of stables built around the 1840s. It was a hot and sunny morning and all the doors were open to allow the old space some sun and air. I met my new friend and her beauty of a dog and was shown around the charming place before we stopped for our coffee chat. I exclaimed as we entered every room -excited and inspired at once. Ferns growing in a pocket of damp, the old cobbled floors, and ivy trailing through the ceiling in parts made the place feel like a country dream. The curved rock wall and solid old beauty just made my heart sing. As I think you know, I love the old crumbling things and have wanted for a long time to stage an exhibition in a space like this. Possibilities were screaming out from every corner with photos to be taken, art to be made, and secrets lost to history to be heard anew. But, I was just there for coffee and was happy that my new friend had such an inspiring place to make her art. 

We chatted in the sun and at some point, she asked if I would like to sketch in the courtyard. Very generous and kind, she had read my last blog. Perhaps a change of scenery would help. I already felt more inspired just by walking through the place. There was one room in particular that jumped out at me, and somehow I asked if I might be able to paint in there sometime. I was thinking for a day or two... she was keen on having me work there for longer than that. In fact, on the spot, she gave me a big broom, dustpan, coveralls, bin bags, and a bucket of soapy water. A plan was hatched! I spent the rest of the day there sweeping until I had blisters on my hands - propelled by her generosity, the wonder of the place, and a head full of possibility. As I was sweeping, I found the word "freedom" on the floor. 

I filmed my Tuesday Studio Video Visit from the space, red-faced and shocked with joy. 

On Wednesday morning, I was given my own key - putting it on my keyring felt important. I am thinking of this opportunity as an artist residency of sorts to help me gain a new perspective and to focus differently on my work. I have wanted to paint larger for quite a while and this space will allow me to explore the possibilities. I went to my studio at the out of the blue and packed up some essentials - paint, charcoal, paper, brushes, canvases, and called a pal to help me transport it. I also ordered a couple of large canvas/twill drop cloths to protect the old floor and a 5x33ft. roll of primed canvas! I spent the rest of Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning sorting things out and by the end of Thursday I had a completed a painting from my new dark series and worked on several small book works. 

Newly completed painting

Today, I worked on another dark series piece. I, of course, love everything about this experience - how it came about, the generosity, vulnerability, and trust involved. I am thankful for this more than you can know and I am excited to see what comes from this time.

In March I wrote these words, "you'll find me standing against the decaying and water-damaged walls of abandoned houses listening." Well, that's where you'll find me...

With gratitude from my heart to yours, keep fighting and keep giving. Beauty is where you find it. Thank you.

Friday, July 19, 2019

I can see clearly (better late than never)

book work in progress

Pardon my tardiness, only my true readers will pay attention or notice that this is being written on a Monday and backdated for Friday. I just don't have much to say. I feel quite stagnate, hollow, and not very inspired at the moment. I have my work in two shows in Edinburgh right now and that's great. I also will have work in the Artists’ Book Market, to be held at the Dalriada on the 7th and 8th of September in Portobello, Edinburgh. 

However, that's not the same as being swept away into a new body of work and expressing myself. Right now, I am unable to express myself and that feels awful. It feels a bit like my mouth is sewn shut, my hands are empty of the knowledge required, and my mind is blank. I took a break from my daily yoga and meditation routine and I ate a bunch of junk food and watched too much tv. I thought I could get away with that (the old ways of coping) for a few weeks or a month, but I don't think I can, at least not right now. I also don't think I want to. My body is aflame and I feel stiff and weak. I have betrayed myself and of course, this affects my art and my mood. 

Betrayed is probably a strong word, but remember I am an artist and I like words and sometimes when you feel this stuck you need to be dramatic and express something, anything - no matter how poorly just to get moving again.

This year is flying by and I feel like it's getting away from me, maybe that's all part of the plan. I am not sure what I have created and if it has been "enough." This goes back to my counting up the evidence ethos (which I have slowly been trying to move away from) but this method of validation can still work if your brain works like mine. Perhaps, I will just do that here, gather the evidence and prove some things to myself in this public forum (shout out to the few of you publics that still read this). 

2019 Paintings: 

I painted the 10 Bikes for Refugee paintings on paper and they all sold, raising £550 for the charity and helping to put 10 bikes on the road for our New Scots. That is something to feel good about. Creative, productive, and helpful, I fulfilled my goal. I am grateful to the patrons who purchased those works, I hope you feel good about what you helped accomplish through your support of my art. 

I painted 6 other small works on canvas, 20x20cm and had them framed. They are all currently at the Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello. 

I completed a large commission in February for Paper + White that consisted of 4 new paintings.  I recently was able to share and enjoy the photos of the completed project, a gorgeous Kensington flat in London. This was a big moment.

I started a new series of large works, "The Dark Series" (working title) currently consisting of 5 pieces with three more in progress. I was excited about this series and others seemed to be as well, I am not sure why I am not ready to go back into it yet. 

I started the scroll series and enjoyed documenting it on the stairs at the studio. 

I have worked on a number of small paper, canvas, and cardboard pieces and of course many studies. 

So I think I have created about 26 "proper" paintings on paper and canvas and have 3 in progress and many small works on the go still, as well as book works in various states of progress. 

Megan, is painting 26 proper paintings with 30 plus more in various states of progress enough for the first 7 months out of the year? Only I can answer that. Are you a machine? No. Do you want to live like a machine? No. Are you being hard on yourself? Yes. I appear to average about 8 paintings a month - some are scribbles, sketches, some will be painted over, some will morph, some are on top of older work I started last year, does this matter? No. Will you paint more paintings before January 2020? Of course.

2019 Exhibitions/Television/Open Studios/Online Studio Sales/Union Membership/Mentoring

I have had my work in 1 solo exhibition since the start of the year.
To Tell You Everything, The Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Alleyway Gallery, Edinburgh
I created an opportunity to show a small 6-piece body of work in an outdoor pop-up space. 

I have had my work in 4 group exhibitions since the start of the year.
The 25th Anniversary Exhibition, The Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh
The Stars Go Waltzing, The Velvet Easel Gallery, Portobello, Edinburgh
Spring Exhibition, The Dancing Light Gallery, West Linton, Edinburgh
Off the Wall, The Velvet Easel Gallery, Portobello, Edinburgh 

My work made its international television debut on HBO's True Detective. This too was a big moment.

I submitted and had my work accepted in the previously mentioned and upcoming Artists’ Book Market. I celebrated and will continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my book series (I am gathering raw materials right now to continue the books).

I have opened my studio to the public 3 times so far this year, with the February and May, Makers Marque and then again in June during the Summer Arts Market.

I have stayed true to my ethos of "art for all" by continuing to create and sell value-priced small works and promoting them online through my online studio sale via social media. I also became quite transparent about the prices on my gallery sized works - by putting the prices on my website as well as creating a payment plan option for patrons. 

I am delighted to have just recently sold a good-sized painting to new patrons back in my home state of Arkansas. I also sold a small work through the Fenix Gallery back home in Arkansas at the start of the year. Two of my paintings have sold through The Velvet Easel Gallery this year and I have sold numerous paintings through my studio and of course through Paper+White commissions. Thank you to all my patrons who purchase my work- you keep me going!
I joined the Scottish Artists Union and attended two events so far this year, one to help shape the Fair Works Contract for artists (this was a paid group consultation of union members) and attended a presentation on basic income. 

I created a new art mentoring website and formally mentored two artists so far this year and perhaps some others on an informal basis. I can't help myself... 

2019 Art Documentaries/Exhibitions/Refilling the Well/Routine:

I have taken in a number of good and varied exhibitions in Edinburgh so far this year. I have also viewed a number of art documentaries that I found inspiring. All part of the process to refill the well, to keep learning, and exploring this wonderful world of art.

I have continued with my Friday Studio Blog (sometimes late) and my Tuesday Studio Video Visits, always with the hope to create a community around art, to share knowledge, skills, fears, doubts, successes, and inspiration. I appreciate all who read and view my offerings - you keep me accountable. 

So, is the year really getting away from me? Am I truly not painting enough? What more do I want? What more do I need? How do I want it to feel? What can I change? What can I accept? What can I let go of? What can I invite in? How can I make my studio space an inviting and exciting place to spend time even when I am stuck? 

Here's another thing through all of this. I have made time for family and friends, and my communities. I have made time for walks, flowers, photography, the beach, the patio, and the plants. I have done more yoga and meditation and ate healthy foods more often than I haven't. I have seen and experienced new things, discovered new books, films, music, and art. I have challenged myself and I have stretched outside my comfort zone. I have taken breaks but I haven't given up. And this is why sometimes, it's still good to gather the evidence. It's hard to see it all, it's hard to feel it all, it's hard to give credit where credit is due. It's much easier to betray (that word again) ourselves with our fears and dark thoughts. 

When I write and read all of this it sounds like I am doing pretty well professionally. I can understand being uncomfortable if I am not painting as much or in the way, I want to be, but I also understand I am basically doing just fine and the best I can. I will return to the dark series, I will make more book works for the market in September. Another commission will come along. I will feel inspired again. I will keep fighting. Thank you for reading and for fighting along with me. 

See my work in Edinburgh: 
Out of the Blue is 25 Exhibition, Thursday 18th - Thursday 25th July. The exhibition will be open daily from 10am -5pm. On through this Thursday."An exhibition of our studio artists’ work to celebrate 25 years of Studio provision in Edinburgh by Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust.

Velvet Easel Gallery.
The Stars go Waltzing will run from Saturday 6th July to Sunday the 27th October and the gallery opening hours are: Thursday - Saturday 10 - 5, Sunday 12 -5

Visit my website to see my available large works.

Visit my art page on Facebook to see my small works

Like what I do and want to buy me a coffee? Thanks!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Whit's fur ye'll no go by ye

The sea whispers to me
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman
Available at the Velvet Easel Gallery

After a lovely opening of the "Stars go waltzing" exhibition at the Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello last Saturday, this week got off to a rocky start. A large commission I was all set to begin working on fell through over the weekend. I took a few days off to process my disappointment, cleaned up my studio (filled with the studies I had done for the project), and tied up a few loose ends. As I managed to show up to work and slowly move forward, I bribed/rewarded myself with a film in the cinema, a charity shop dress, and a fair amount of junk food. I also relied on my close friends and family when I needed support and here I am. Almost a week has passed and I am okay. In fact, I am pretty good.

As the Scots say, "Whit's fur ye'll no go by ye." Sometimes, things have a funny way of working out for the best. So now my studio is tidy and ready for the next project, my belly is full, I saw the new Robert the Bruce film (I really enjoyed it- better than the Netflix one) and I am reminded how wonderful it is to have supportive people in my life. And then something else happened...

Fragile once more
Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas
© 2015 Megan Chapman

A dear patron contacted me and purchased a couple of small works from my online studio sale and on the same day, a lovely patron from the states contacted me and purchased one of my larger paintings for their collection! Here I was fretting about the loss of income and in the same week, three sales! Three of those good, affirming, rich communication and connection type sales. Thank you, patrons, your support couldn't have come at a better time!

In other news, a reminder again about the 25-year Anniversary Exhibition at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall opening next Thursday.

Mark your diaries and get your free ticket (see link below- or don't bother with the tickets if that is freaking you out- just come!). I am delighted that I will be participating in the Out of the Blue is 25 Exhibition, Thursday 18th - Thursday 25th July. Join us for the exhibition launch: Thursday 18th July, 6pm - 9pm (book free tickets), The exhibition will be open daily from 10am-5pm (except Sunday). "An exhibition of our studio artists’ work to celebrate 25 years of Studio provision in Edinburgh by Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust.

Out of the Blue is delighted to present an exhibition showcasing the rich array of practices taking place behind our studio doors. Bringing together painters, textile artists, jewellers, and everything in-between as a celebration of ingenuity, imagination, innovation, and craft."

That's all I have for you this week. Thank you for being here.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Exhibitions and studies

One of my paintings that will be on show at the Velvet Easel

It's Friday and I bring news from my personal art world. First, news again of two upcoming exhibitions! The first exhibition opens tomorrow (Saturday, July 6th). I borrowed the following copy from the fabulous Velvet Easel Gallery.

"The Velvet Easel Gallery would like to extend a warm invitation to our new mixed exhibition, The Stars Go Waltzing.

The exhibition will feature a myriad of new and exciting artists as well as work by those already popular in the gallery. Drinks and nibbles will be served throughout the opening day on Saturday 6th of July

The Stars go Waltzing will run from Saturday 6th July to Sunday the 27th October and the gallery opening hours are:

Thursday - Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12 -5

The Velvet Easel Gallery exhibits a broad range of original art including paintings, pottery, ceramics, glass, and jewellery...we also have a wide range of prints and greetings cards and provide an ideal venue to shop for unique, unusual and quality purchases and gifts. We also sell Gift Vouchers which have proved popular for wedding, birthday, retirement, Christmas gifts etc.

Thank you as always to customers and exhibiting artists - the gallery would be nothing without you."

I hope you will make it by the gallery for the exhibition, The Velvet Easel is one of my most favourite galleries in town, always a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and a wonderful variety of art on show. A real gem in Edinburgh. I am delighted to have six new paintings in this exhibition. 

Between memory and story, just one of my paintings that will be part of the Out of the Blue 25 Exhibition

The second exhibition opens on Thursday, July 18th. I know I mentioned both of these exhibitions in my blog last week as well but you just never know who will read one blog and not the other, so thanks for your patience. I borrowed the following copy from the fabulous Out of the Blue Drill Hall. 

Mark your diaries and get your free ticket (see link below). I am delighted that I will be participating in the Out of the Blue is 25 Exhibition, Thursday 18th - Thursday 25th July. Join us for the exhibition launch: Thursday 18th July, 6pm - 9pm (book free tickets), The exhibition will be open daily from 10am-5pm (except Sunday)

"An exhibition of our studio artists’ work to celebrate 25 years of Studio provision in Edinburgh by Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust.

Out of the Blue is delighted to present an exhibition showcasing the rich array of practices taking place behind our studio doors. Bringing together painters, textile artists, jewellers and everything in-between as a celebration of ingenuity, imagination, innovation, and craft."

I have worked at my studio G23 at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street in Leith since I rented it in late December 2014, just 3 months after I made the big move to Edinburgh. All the work I have created since has been made within this fabulous old building, so I am honoured to be able to celebrate and become part of the history of the 25 years of the Out of the Blue. 

Now that we have the very important promotions out of the way. I will say that this week was spent on a series of studies. I think I did six sets of six paintings - so 36 small studies for six larger-scale works that I hope to be busy painting in the near future. It was a fun and challenging process. I painted a few things I really liked and am looking forward to transferring them to much larger canvases shortly.

Here is a rough version of one of the studies and then six of the final studies cleaned up. 

rough study

cleaned up studies ready to create on 90x120cm canvases
I think that is all I have for you this week, I would love to hear that you have visited The Velvet Easel or perhaps I will see you at the opening at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall. Regardless, let's keep in touch. Keep fighting, you miraculous creature of light and dark. I need you here. We all do. Thank you. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Ancient, old-fashioned, and new

Edinburgh is not just a city but a friend - my ghostly companion made of cobblestone, sandstone, and extinct volcanoes. Strong and sure when I am not, I water the flowers with my tears. They grow so well in summer (and things stay green in the spring, winter, and autumn too). The streets are dirty and trash blows across the beauty just to knock us all down a peg or two. The pavements are wide enough for us all but also selective in places. We fall into line and most of the time it's worth it. The Castle looms and Arthur's Seat is a beacon, both a reminder to look up and outward.

The sun is a joy when it visits, every sunburn is worth it. The haar turns a typical day into a mystery. The rain is the backing track to dreams and disappointments. The local voices sing their hellos and goodbyes as the Firth of Forth holds us and soothes our edges.

I walk into the sun, smell the jasmine, hops, and weed as I dodge dog shite and old mattresses with a smile on my face. My city has so many faces and this comforts me. Together we keep evolving- ancient, old-fashioned, and new. 


My brother Sean and his lovely wee family were in town this week visiting from the states, the above post is a short reflection of the visit, and of being a tourist in my own backyard. I remember why I love this city and Scotland as a whole. It was a wonderful week of seeing it all and reconnecting with my family.  I am thankful for the good people of Scotland and Edinburgh for making them feel welcomed and consider myself lucky to live here. It was good to take a week off work to enjoy it all with people I love dearly. Haste ye back! Here's the Tuesday Studio Video Visit if you missed it. 

In art news: 

I received the six new small works back from Leith Framing Studio - always a delight to see them framed. I will soon be taking them to the fabulous Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello for the next mixed exhibition, which opens a week from today! 

The Velvet Easel Gallery would like to extend a warm invitation to our new mixed exhibition, The Stars Go Waltzing.

The exhibition will feature a myriad of new and exciting artists as well as work by those already popular in the gallery. Drinks and nibbles will be served throughout the opening day on Saturday 6th of July

The Stars go Waltzing will run from Saturday 6th July to Sunday the 27th October and the gallery opening hours are:

Thursday - Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12 -5

In other exhibition news, mark your diaries and get your free ticket (see link below). I am delighted that I will be participating in the Out of the Blue is 25 Exhibition, Thursday 18th - Thursday 25th July. Join us for the exhibition launch: Thursday 18th July, 6pm - 9pm (book free tickets), The  exhibition will be open daily from 10am-5pm (except Sunday)

An exhibition of our studio artists’ work to celebrate 25 years of Studio provision in Edinburgh by Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust.

Out of the Blue is delighted to present an exhibition showcasing the rich array of practices taking place behind our studio doors. Bringing together painters, textile artists, jewellers and everything in-between as a celebration of ingenuity, imagination, innovation, and craft.

Until next week, keep fighting. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Old ghosts dance under the surface

The sea whispers to me
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

After the excitement of open studios and my pop up exhibition, "To tell you everything" at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall last Saturday, it felt good to return to my very tidy studio and return to the work of painting.

I am not quite ready to dive back into my dark series yet, so I returned to some smaller work. These are lighter and brighter with hidden bits. I like to think of them as "A small series about control." These pieces nod to the palette used in "Echoes and memory" but also nod to other works with a dash of the pink here and there. They are textured, layered, and minimal with a touch of play but mostly a touch of control. When I want to control things, I love nothing more than a clear path. When the path is messy and murky in painting and in life, there is nothing better to me than to white it out, blank it out, clean it up, and fix it. This is much easier to do with painting. There may be chaos under the surface but with a broad stroke of paint, it is covered and cleaned. This creates a rich play of what is seen and what is almost seen, textures of what was, as the old ghosts dance under the surface.

On the wind
Mixed media on canvas 
2019 Megan Chapman

Six of these small, 20x20x4cm (8x8x1.5") canvases were worked on until completion, documented, varnished, titled, and taken to the framer this week. All six of these pieces were chosen by Roz Walker, fellow artist, and owner of the Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello, Edinburgh for inclusion in the next mixed show opening July 6th. It was a productive week.

If you listen (again)
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

I also had some fun with the Tuesday Studio Video Visit, singing to the pieces and giving viewers a good up-close look at the work.

Where my soul roams
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

The flowers I bring
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

Small gestures
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

Until next week, keep fighting - the world needs you and the light you bring.

Friday, June 14, 2019

A beautiful moment

I had the honour of working with PAPER+WHITE, award-winning international interior design and art consultancy based in England with studios in London’s East End and Cambridgeshire at the end of last year and the start of 2019. 

I am delighted to be able to share these gorgeous photos of my paintings in situ in this stunning family apartment in Kensington, London. 

Interior Design and Art Consultancy Credit: Paper + White 
Photography Credit: The Interior Photographer 
Photos used with permission.

This is another big moment in my art career, if you would have told me twenty years ago when I was about to graduate with my BFA in Painting from the University of Oregon, that five of my original paintings (four of which were site-specific commissions) would live in a stunning, well appointed, and impeccably designed apartment in Kensington, London I am not sure if I would have believed you. I must admit it feels right though and it feels good. I have worked hard for this. I am thankful for all the help I have been given and for the opportunities that have come my way. I am thankful to myself for never giving up. Special thanks to the supremely talented Davina Stanley of Paper +White. 

In other news, tomorrow (Saturday, June 15th) my studio G23 will be open as part of the Summer Arts Market at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall from 11-5 at 36 Dalmeny Street, Leith, Edinburgh. The hall will be filled with carefully curated stalls filled with art, craft, and design goodness. The wonderful Mairi Brown will also have her studio open just up the stairs from mine. Please join us, we love opening our studios for you! Weather permitting, I may have a special treat for you in the form of my pop up exhibition, "To tell you everything." Here is a short video of the installation (I had a soft launch on Monday). Let's hope we have dry weather for tomorrow but if not, I will have it at a later date.

Until next week, keep fighting, keep trying, and dream big. The world needs you and your art. Thank you.

Friday, June 7, 2019

No longer a mystery: Art and Money

Between memory and story
Mixed media on canvas
© 2018 Megan Chapman
“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss Money” ― Oscar Wilde

This week I sent art to two patrons through the post and met one patron for a long lunch and to hand deliver his piece from my online studio sale. I am also waiting to send a patron her piece when it is best for her schedule. I am delighted with these recent sales and thankful as always for my patrons. 

On Tuesday, I recorded my Tuesday Studio Video Visit and talked a wee bit about money and the value of art. You can see it again here. 

This lead me to think more about the art market, and what we have been trained or coached to do as we promote our work and why. One of the big rules used to be (and still is) don't put your prices on your website. Your website should stand as a priceless portfolio. The galleries will decide your prices.

There is so much conflicting advice given when it comes to marketing our art. The value and price of art feels mysterious, and I think perhaps it's meant to be (in an if you know, you know sort of way). If you know me, you know I like to demystify the art process and bring it down to earth (well, the parts that can be brought down - not the mystical bits). 

If I go to a yard/rummage/car boot sale/flea market/department store or any other retailer and the seller has their things set out but with no prices, I might see something I love but I will probably walk on by. I might not feel inquisitive that day - I might think that their items are way out of my price range, and I don't want to feel embarrassed, so I won't ask. I might also think their prices are variable and may change depending on the person asking. I will operate from my assumptions, fears, and limited information and go on my merry way. 

So why were artists coached to keep prices off our websites? The old dangling carrot, if you wanted gallery representation, or to be taken seriously, you just don't do it. So we did what we were told. 

Yesterday, I finally put my prices on my website (after twenty years). At first, it felt like I was doing something wrong or tacky. It was a strange mixture of rebellion and empowerment but more importantly, it felt transparent and honest. I was relieved. 

I also added a payment plan section. It's lovely when a patron knows what they want and knows they can pay for it outright and I am always thankful. I also love working with people who need more time to pay off their art purchases. Now, I state how this works clearly on my website in the contact section. Depending on the price of the piece, you can take up to 3, 6, 12, or 14 months to pay off your painting. 

We budget for clothes, cars, rent, mortgages, utilities, holidays, university costs, and charity. Why not budget for art? Making art a priority in your life and committing to building a collection one payment at a time feels good and knowing that you are supporting a living artist is icing on the cake!

Art doesn't need to be treated like a luxury because I don't think it has to be one. I think art can be a necessity and my desire is to get it to you any way I can. Whether it's a £20 paper piece or sketch from my online studio sale on social media to a £2,200 large work on canvas from my studio, website, or a gallery that represents me, I have you covered.

Thank you. Be well and keep fighting. 

PS. Are you looking for an art mentor? Work with me!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Our family tree made of charcoal dust

I spent Sunday at my open studio enjoying the conversations I had as people wandered in and out throughout the day. Not a penny was made. I notice I feel almost apologetic to "admit the truth" when folks ask me how it went. Making a penny would have been nice but it wasn't my sole aim, it never has been. I'm here for the banter, I said as I smiled.

After getting my studio organised for the event, I decided to continue the fun by hosting an online studio sale as the week went on. It's important to have a good clear out every once in a while as well as staying true to my belief that art is for all or that at least it can be for most. While my gallery pieces may retail for higher prices, I always try to keep some smaller paper works, process pieces, and sketches back at more affordable prices.

20x16"/ 50x40cm 2018
Mixed media Linen textured archival paper

Decay paper series
Heavyweight folded cotton rag paper
charcoal not fixed, handle with care and frame
Signed on back

I'm delighted that two works on paper from my studio sale sold yesterday. After twenty plus years of being a painter, each sale is still celebrated, each sale gives me hope and encouragement and helps me live this artist's life. Whether £5.00 or £5,000 each one is a thrill and I am honoured and thankful. The painting part may be a solitary venture but the sharing of my art and a patron deciding to live with my work is an act of solidarity, community, and support that I never forget.

This is a delicate balance- this life and calling. I gingerly walk on a high, fine line. My patrons are the net below. My faith in the alchemy of art helps guide each step forward on the path. I am here for the craft, the mystery, the freedom (and the banter too). I am here because I know this is where I belong and it's through painting that I find myself and my community. This is our high, fine line walking lineage. This is our family tree made of charcoal dust.

Thank you.

Dark Sketches Transition number 1
Original, signed on the back
Mixed media on acid-free 300 gsm/140lb Watercolour paper
A5 size/ 210 x 148mm 8.3 x 5.9"
£45 Free Shipping in the UK. Contact me for details.

Dark Sketches Transition number 2
Original, signed on the back
Mixed media on acid-free 300 gsm/140lb Watercolour paper
A5 size/ 210 x 148mm 8.3 x 5.9"
£45 Free Shipping in the UK. Contact me for details.

Dark Sketches Transition number 3
Original, signed on the back
Mixed media on acid-free 300 gsm/140lb Watercolour paper
A5 size/ 210 x 148mm 8.3 x 5.9"
£45 Free Shipping in the UK. Contact me for details.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Making, doing, seeing, being.

I started on three large canvases this week, bought more black paint, and worked on twelve small paper pieces. The week moved along until here we are, Friday.

My studio time was punctuated throughout the week by my brilliant friends. Tea drinking and charity shopping with Philip on Sunday, studio time and a meeting in the city on Monday, coffee and a walk with Jane on Tuesday (along with an exciting appearance of the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon), a gorgeous brass statue of Lord Ganesha was acquired on this day as well, and of course, we can't forget the filming of the Tuesday Studio Video Visit. Wednesday I spent working in the studio with periodic chats with my friend, Aoife. Yesterday, I walked up Calton Hill with my friend Tamsin, spent some more time working in the studio, and then enjoyed dinner with my friends Aoife and Megan. Today, I enjoyed an early morning meet up with my friend Peikko in a cafe in the Meadows before we participated in the climate strike and marched through the city centre. 

So as you can see, I enjoyed a partially sunny and full week of work and friendship, balanced by evening walks, photographs of the sea and sunsets, and even a couple of films. It feels good to have this lovely community of friends and balance in my life. I am truly thankful for it all. You may ask, what does this have to do with art and I would tell you again, everything. It is the foundation.

In strictly art related news, my studio G23 is scheduled to be open on Sunday from 12-5 pm as part of the Makers Marque at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall located at 36 Dalmeny Street, Leith, Edinburgh. I will be sharing my book series, my small paper pieces, as well as previewing the beginnings of my new series. There may be some bargains to be had so come on by!

The Spring Exhibition at the Dancing Light Gallery is coming to close on the 29th of May. If you are in the area and haven't yet been by, don't delay!

Dancing Light Gallery
Whitmuir by Lamancha
West Linton
EH46 7BB

Gallery Hours:
Mon-Sun. 10am-5pm
Phone 01968 660200

Also, the Off the Wall exhibition at the Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello remains on show until the 30th of June so if you haven't been by there yet, please put it in your diary as I have 4 small framed works remaining on show there. 

Velvet Easel Gallery
298 Portobello High Street
Edinburgh, EH15 2AS

Gallery Hours:
Thu-Sat. 10am-5pm
Sun. 12-5pm.
Phone 07813 916684

And last but not least, for my friends and patrons back home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, you can find a selection of my small original paintings and limited edition prints at the Fenix Gallery. If my work is not currently on show, just ask to see it!

Fenix Gallery
16 W. Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701

Gallery Hours:
Wed-Fri 10-5pm
Sat. 9-2pm

Go out and see some art, support artists, and keep fighting for a more just and fair world for us all! Don't forget to see your friends while you are at it. Community is key, thank you for being part of mine. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Message from an unknown sender

I went to the studio on Monday and a new painting showed up; dark, veiled, and mysterious. Filled with broken rules, muddy colours, and no distinct vantage point. It came fast and strong, the title too. This was a message from an unknown sender. A message that I was very happy to receive. It unnerved and excited me and provided some sense of relief.

The start of a new series brings a type of fever and remembering back into the process of painting. I love having a framework, the foundation to work and play in. I need a reason. I don't paint because I don't know what else to do with my time or hands. Honestly, I spend a lot of my time resisting painting. Balancing that uncomfortable dangerous undercurrent, that anxiety that will finally push me to get back to the "serious" work (whatever that means). This week the "serious" work showed up again. The kind of work, I love the most.

Just as I love the colour white and most colours (really - look back at my earlier work), I also love black and darkness (again, look back at my earlier work and the "dark landscapes"). We were trained not to use black and white if you could ever use another colour. I like breaking rules. Muddy paintings are also considered bad form, and some of my earlier paintings are so clean and vibratory you'd think a machine painted them. But, I like a bit of mud, a dirty veil on the surface of the painting, a bit of dullness over the brighter colours below. Remember the shock after they cleaned the Sistine Chapel ceiling... I liked it before (and after). Think of all the reproductions we have come to love because we were looking at old, yellowed and dirty paintings before they were cleaned and restored.

Darker paintings might not work with your decor or match your sofa, they might not sell in galleries as easily as their colourful and "fun" fellow paintings (I know this to be true - why do you think I stopped with the dark landscapes). Darker paintings will, however,  thrill me and I think that is a very good reason to receive their message. So I call out to the darkness and crack open the studio door, I invite it in. The dark warmth envelopes, the other colours reach out from underneath, the veil lifts and welcomes us into the fold with mystery and yet something familiar we all recognise.

Until next week, keep fighting.

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