Friday, April 3, 2020

We make our mark in isolation








"It might be time to reclaim it all for ourselves and back away from the capitalist contagion that soils our craft."

I wrote this in a chat message on Instagram to another painter. I added the laugh until crying emoji, the two enthusiastic hands emoji, and the fire emoji to show that I am not taking myself too seriously, but yet let's preach it and set it all on fire.

Why do artists continue to play in this capitalist system when it has never worked very well for us? To validate our work? To reach the masses? To become successful? Because we were told this is what is done? 

My ideas of success are pretty different from the capitalist ideal. My ideas about worth and value are too. I don't know the answer currently but I am thinking a hell of a lot about it. 

As always I am thankful for my friends, family, galleries, designers, and patrons that keep me working and supported. Thank you. 

Stay well. Stay in. Wash your hands and stay free. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

We create our own systems



It's Friday and I am here. I am listening to Santigold's first album on the big headphones. I did order two lots of art supplies earlier in the week, as I said I would in my last post. I have not yet received them, so I looked around the house to see what types of supplies I could piece together in the interim. I mentioned to Edinburgh based painter and illustrator, David Schofield on Twitter that I might end up finger painting on cardboard with coffee. I am still not too inspired to paint right now, but I am following through and setting up some space and I might even work on something later today. I just need to start. Again, I don't exactly think this is the time to keep performing as if this is a normal time or just another work week in the studio. Remember, how you choose to cope or process what is happening around the world is up to you. 

I just woke up from a long nap on the sofa. The sky is flat grey, the pavements are wet, and the shower is broken. The Prime Minister and the UK's Health secretary have both tested positive for the virus. 

Thank goodness for friends, music, and art. We keep showing up for each other. My dear friend artist and musician, John Kay (I will link to his Bandcamp page once he has it set up) sent me money for supplies earlier in the week. Artist, musician, and friend, Karl Macrae made his last payments this week on one of my paintings. Another artist and dear friend, Maggie Ivy bought me a cup of coffee and then I bought a cup of coffee for textile artist, Mairi Brown. And this is how we do it. 

As artists, many of us keep passing the same money (when we have it) around to keep each other afloat and we have been doing this for years. We keep lifting each other up. We are legion and we must not forget this and somehow we must create our own systems that actually work for us. The old systems sure as hell aren't working. Let's all think about this.

In other news, I put some of my "art" photos on my ko-fi page. I also shared some of my accidental portraits over there and linked to a podcast I used to do as well. Trying to flesh out the page in thanks to those who have already supported me over there and to those that hopefully will in the future. Ko-Fi is a friendly platform to support artists. https://ko-fi.com/meganchapman If you are an artist yourself, consider setting up a page. 

I recorded my Tuesday Studio Video Visit from home and put it on my YouTube page (still very much under construction over there) but here it is again if you missed it. 



I think that is all I have for you this week. Be well, stay safe, distance, and isolate. Wash your hands. We need you and the gifts you bring. Patrons we need you more than ever. 

With love, gratitude, and hope for the world, 
Megan 

Enjoy my blog and my work? Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, March 20, 2020

Return the gift


For what it's worth 62x76cm mixed media on canvas, framed in white, 2019, Megan Chapman
 Currently available through Irving Gallery. 
I am writing this post on Monday. I know my blogs have been backdated A LOT these days. Part of it is due to simply getting out of my routine and part of is that I don't feel as connected to my readers as I once did. I know that my lack of energy for this space and lack of readership go hand in hand. This space is still very important to me. I don't enjoy it as much when it becomes solely a promotional platform and it has been that A LOT lately. I like it more when it becomes a thoughtful, dreamy place where I can write freely and express some other part of my art brain that is usually held closer within and secreted away. Sometimes, I don't even want to write about my studio practice here, so I may feel limited at times by the scope that I originally set for this blog back in 2007. 

I realise of course, that I can write whatever the hell I want to and as I don't have the same dedicated art following here as I once did when blogs were king and social media meant MySpace, now is really the time to regift this space to myself. I am a painter and I write as part of my practice. Sometimes it is overtly connected and sometimes it is not and that is enough. This space is mine. 

Welcome to the re-gifting of Megan Chapman's Studio Blog. Imagine I have cut a long velvet ribbon with gigantic golden scissors and if you want, you are welcome to cross the threshold. It's like an old shoe with a new set of laces. 

I am listening to Beirut's song "Gallipoli" on repeat turned up loud on my big wireless headphones. I am still a firm believer in a good song on repeat to take me somewhere or to give me the space to find somewhere new in my brain, this is my sonic meditation. Music is everything to me. 

So here we are, in our Covid-19 days. I have not been to my studio in 2 weeks. I didn't think when I was there last that I wouldn't be just right back. I didn't gather up materials or supplies to work from home. I wasn't thinking that far in advance to our fast-approaching new reality. I live about an 18-minute bus ride away from my sacred space. I, of course, could walk there and have done so in the past or I could even ride my bike. I am not so sure if that is a good idea anymore. 

Today, I haven't even gone outside across the road to the wee beach (Wardie Bay) as more and more people are going out to nature and not observing the social distancing rules (2 metres/6.5feet) it becomes more difficult to feel safe or to avoid people. So here I am, trying to figure out a way to work from home in this new reality. 

If any of you have visited my studio in Edinburgh or even back in Fayetteville, Arkansas (at the Fayetteville Underground or any of my home studios) you will know that I am not a passive painter and that there are marks left behind on the walls and floors and that I can't seem to politely paint at an easel no matter how hard I try. So, of course, my work will change as I work from home. Perhaps more collage elements, more written or typed bits, or just tighter cleaner wee paintings. Who knows. I have worked from dining room tables, kitchen counters, and small spaces before. And god knows, I love a challenge. Perhaps there will be more accidental portraits but on a smaller scale. I really don't know. 

All of my exhibitions have been canceled and the galleries closed and I won't be venturing out to the post office to mail any art at this time either. So there goes my livelihood along with so many others. My livelihood is probably more predisposed to this type of upheaval. I am used to working alone and I am used to financial uncertainty. I am used to offering up my work for free to view online just make people happy or to infuse some beauty or interest into their days (I see your Covid-19 pet posts, singing posts, cooking posts and I thank you for them). You may now have a better sense of what many artists and creative people's lives are like. That desire to shift the narrative, to entertain, and to help others with whatever you feel you have to give and it isn't about money. 

However, I feel like The Giving Tree right now (I have always been the tree in that book). Currently, I feel like the stump at the end. This is mostly because I haven't been working as regularly (after that 2019 year-end flurry and I've been spending my time this year getting ready for what I thought was to be an exhibition flurry in 2020). Now, I am away from my studio, the galleries and shows are closed, I am not making my Tuesday Studio Video Visits, and I can't even send you art if you wanted to support me. I feel like I have nothing to give. I know this is not exactly true but it is a feeling that has crossed my brain a few times lately. 

And now watch what I do, I will turn it around. I am pretty good at this part, my middle name is Campbell (but it really should be Resilience). One day when I finally get around to making "my weirdest fucking art yet"™ maybe that will be the name I use - Resilience Campbell. 

So, okay back to the turnaround. Here I am, giving you this, I am writing my Studio Blog - better late than never and I think it's going to pretty good so far. I have ordered art supplies today. Just a few things to get me going again - yellow ochre, black, white, pink, turquoise paint (gotta have some colour!) charcoal sticks, brushes. Thanks, Pat for the birthday giftcard to the art supply store! I still need a few other materials (there seems to be have been a run on oil pastels!) and another generous friend has offered to help me with this. Thanks, John! 

Many of the galleries I show with are posting work online across social media and have e-commerce sites or are in the process of developing them so that patrons can still buy art in order to support their galleries and artists. They are thinking of new ways for us all to stay connected and in business with online art talks and more! For all the links look at last week's post.

After posting this blog, I will start to clear a space where I might be able to work (and as the weather warms I will be able to use the outside patio space too and get some fresh air while observing social distancing/isolation protocol). Tomorrow, I will record a Tuesday Studio Video Visit from home and might change up the format a bit. I still want to get the rest of my videos from Facebook and put them on my YouTube channel - and it looks like I will have plenty of time now to do that tedious task. I can update my online shop and can create new incentives for patrons to support my work- as in it's a great time to put a painting on layaway - at installments that you can afford. There are many things I can do to maintain my practice (and it might not just be painting) and hopefully generate a bit of money. Basically, I need to create my own WPA projects and hope that our capitalist systems fall in line with what is really happening with rent and mortgage freezes, utility freezes, support for the freelance, self-employed and gig economy WORKERS around the world and a basic universal income while we are helping each other by staying in place.

Honestly, haven't we all just been thinking of surviving and protecting our loved ones? This is not the best headspace for me to make art and I am not feeling too creative except for in the kitchen (yes, cooking is an art) but I have lived through many times in my life when it was not the best headspace for making art. The art changes and the headspace changes too. We don't wait for inspiration, we create the conditions for it and we catch it in the ether. Today, I vow to set the stage and have my internal butterfly net alerted to catch the wild ideas that float past. I have more to give, I am not done.

Be well, stay safe, distance, and isolate. Wash your hands. We need you and the gifts you bring, now more than ever. 

With love, gratitude, and hope for the world, 
Megan 

Enjoy my blog and my work? Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, March 13, 2020

Art in the time of Covid-19



Hello, lovely folks!

I hope you are staying well, safe, and hopefully home and away from others at this time. I am sorry for my recent silence, there has been a lot of information to absorb and things to process for us all.

My solo exhibition at the Helensburgh Art Hub in April has been, of course, smartly canceled. We may try to arrange an online gallery of the works or a digital art talk in the near future.

Also, the fabulous Irving Gallery in Oxford has had to close their doors for now as well and many other galleries are closing for the safety of all involved.

Please like the gallery pages above and below to show them some virtual support as they not only manage their galleries and artists but also their families, communities, and their own personal wellbeing in these uncertain times. Many galleries are working on new and exciting ways to stay connected with their patrons and artists at this time, so please stay tuned.

Sending love and thanks to all the galleries that have represented and shown my work in the past and present and to all the individuals that have supported me over the years. Thank you.

Please follow and support these gallery pages online and across social media as well to stay connected as we move forward: Solo Gallery, The Velvet Easel Gallery, Paper + White and Fenix Fayetteville. I will be posting more regularly soon and will be updating my webshop as well and trying to come up with creative ways to work from home as I am away from my studio. I hope you are well and taking the best care of yourselves and your communities.

Thinking of you all with love and gratitude. - Megan 

Walls too crowded, budget tight? You can still support my work. Click the link to buy me a coffee. Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter for exclusive content. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, March 6, 2020

Two Exhibitions Opening Saturday March the 7th!



Solo Gallery presents ‘First Impressions.' Opening Saturday, March the 7th! 

The exhibition will feature the work of local artist Louise Turnbull and will be shown alongside the work of Anita Phillips, Mary Morrison, Pascale Steenkiste, Megan Chapman, Debbie Lee, Moy Mackay, Barbara Cameron, and Hilary Forbes. 

If you're in the Scottish Borders on Saturday 7th March, come along to the opening from 2-5pm for nibbles and a glass of something bubbly. The exhibition continues until Saturday 4th April. 


I am delighted to have seven pieces in this exhibition and to be sharing the walls with such good company. 

Solo Gallery
51 High Street, Innerleithen EH44 6HD 
Phone: 07495 710687
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm daily, except on Tuesday when the gallery is closed. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-4pm. 
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.



The Velvet Easel Gallery presents 'Where the Shadows Come to Play.' Opening Saturday, March 7th!

A new and exciting mixed exhibition featuring a broad range of mixed media artists. Make plans to come out and support this sweet and varied gallery with something for everyone and receive a kind and warm welcome on Saturday 7th March. Join us from 10am to close on Saturday for the opening and enjoy drinks and nibbles whilst taking in some superb art. The exhibition continues until the 28th of June.

I happily have four new works in this exhibition.

The Velvet Easel Gallery

298 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 2AS
Phone: 07813 916684
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm Thurs, Friday, Saturday. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-5pm. Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.


Irving Gallery in Oxford, 'A Place to Breathe.' Exhibition continues!

The exhibition will include paintings by Gina Parr, Helen Booth, Megan Chapman, and Kate Shooter, prints by Maxine Foster and Julie Leach, and photography by Ian Hoskin and Gina Parr.

The exhibition opened Saturday 29th February from 1pm - 5pm. 'A Place to Breathe' will continue until Saturday 18th April. 

I am beyond thrilled to have six new works showing as part of this heavy-hitting exhibition in Oxford, England. If you are in the area, please make plans to attend and send me photos!

Irving Gallery
28 Essex Street, Oxford OX4 3AW, UK
Phone: 07969 673349
Gallery hours:
Wednesday and Thursday 11am - 5pm Friday: 11am- 3pm Saturday: 1pm to 5pm
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.


And soon I will have the confirmed details for my solo exhibition at the Helensburgh Art Hub for April.

I know my studio blog has become quite promotional heavy lately, I have been painting here and there (there has been a lot going on behind the scenes). I have painted one small work, one small sculpture, and four accidental portraits this year. After November's intense flurry of activity (a very productive 2019 really) and this flurry of exhibitions, I have not been in the flow but I am looking forward to finding a new rhythm soon. I also very much looking forward to the spring too.

I hope everyone is well, happy and inspired. Thanks to everyone who has seen my work in the galleries carrying it currently, and thanks for the folks that came to my open studio on March 1 and have supported me through my ko-fi page and through the accidental portraits. Take care until next week!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Exhibition News!


Irving Gallery in Oxford presents 'A Place to Breathe.'

The exhibition will include paintings by Gina Parr, Helen Booth, Megan Chapman, and Kate Shooter, prints by Maxine Foster and Julie Leach, and photography by Ian Hoskin and Gina Parr.

The exhibition opens tomorrow Saturday 29th February from 1pm - 5pm. 'A Place to Breathe' will continue until Saturday 18th April. 

I am beyond thrilled to have six new works showing as part of this heavy-hitting exhibition in Oxford, England. If you are in the area, please make plans to attend and send me photos!

Irving Gallery
28 Essex Street, Oxford OX4 3AW, UK
Phone: 07969 673349
Gallery hours:
Wednesday and Thursday 11am - 5pm Friday: 11am- 3pm Saturday: 1pm to 5pm
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.




Solo Gallery presents ‘First Impressions.'

The exhibition will feature the work of local artist Louise Turnbull and will be shown alongside the work of Anita Phillips, Mary Morrison, Pascale Steenkiste, Megan Chapman, Debbie Lee, Moy Mackay, Barbara Cameron, and Hilary Forbes. 

If you're in the Scottish Borders on Saturday 7th March, come along to the opening from 2-5pm for nibbles and a glass of something bubbly. The exhibition continues until Saturday 4th April. 


I am delighted to have seven pieces in this exhibition and to be sharing the walls with such good company. 

Solo Gallery
51 High Street, Innerleithen EH44 6HD 
Phone: 07495 710687
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm daily, except on Tuesday when the gallery is closed. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-4pm. 
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.


The Velvet Easel Gallery presents 'Where the Shadows Come to Play.'

A new and exciting mixed exhibition featuring a broad range of mixed media artists. Make plans to come out and support this sweet and varied gallery with something for everyone and receive a kind and warm welcome on Saturday 7th March. Join us from 10am to close on Saturday for the opening and enjoy drinks and nibbles whilst taking in some superb art. The exhibition continues until the 28th of June.

I happily have four new works in this exhibition.

The Velvet Easel Gallery
298 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 2AS
Phone: 07813 916684
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm Thurs, Friday, Saturday. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-5pm. Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.


Besides having my work in these exhibitions, my Studio G23 will also be open this Sunday, the 1st of March from 12-5pm at The Out of Blue Drill Hall as part of the Makers Marque. Come say hello! It will be my first Open Studio of the New Year and it would be great to see you there. 

36 Dalmeny Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 8RG 
Studio G23  
I am on the ground floor before you get to the cafe, look to your right, and follow the signs.
Follow The Out of the Blue Drill Hall on Facebook and Instagram

And of course, in April I will be having my solo exhibition and art talk at the Helensburgh Art Hub, in Helensburgh, Scotland. Do keep that in mind, but rest assured we will talk about that as it gets closer.

I am thankful for all the opportunities coming my way for my art here in the U.K. in 2020. I hope you will make an effort to support these galleries and artists. Until next week, I hope you are well, happy, and inspired. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Now showing at Solo Gallery

This week I thought I would shine a spotlight on the seven paintings that are currently with the lovely Solo Gallery in Innerleithen, in the Scottish Borders.


A Shift in the weather
76x76x4cm
Mixed media on canvas
2016
£1,350

To Tell You Everything  
40x40x4cm
Mixed media on canvas
2017
£550

Where We Say Goodbye
40x40x4cm
Mixed media on canvas
2017
£550

Far Away
40x40x4cm
Mixed media on canvas
2017
£550


Precipice
51x41x4cm
Mixed media on canvas
2017
£645



On the wind
Mixed media on canvas
20x20x4cm
2019
£325 (framed)



The sea whispers to me
Mixed media on canvas
20x20x4cm
2019
£325 (framed)

Contact gallery owner Kate Hayes or go by the gallery in person to enjoy these works of mine and the many other brilliant works on show at the lovely Solo Gallery.

51 High Street, Innerleithen EH44 6HD 
Phone: 07495 710687
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm daily, except on Tuesday when the gallery is closed. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-4pm.
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated as well. 

I am delighted to be showing with a new vibrant and exciting gallery specialising in contemporary arts and crafts.

Next week, we will be talking about all things Oxford, and the Irving Gallery's exhibition, "A place to breathe" which opens Feb. 29th, featuring six of my paintings as well as the wonderful work of many other talented artists! Until next week, I hope you are well, happy, and inspired. Thanks for being here with me.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Take that dive





I SHOULD write about all the exciting exhibitions that I am participating in or that are coming up or about the paintings that are on the go in the studio. Some weeks it is more complicated than others to separate it all out and get quiet and reflect on what I am doing in the studio. 

Some weeks I just want to break script, tell a story, spin a yarn, or just dream out loud. I get frustrated and it holds me back from writing at all. I hope you enjoyed last week's origin story. It felt good to look back and tell a bit of a story rather than just reporting. 

This internet world is extraordinary in so many ways but it also drives and molds us in ways that I don't think are so great. I don't want to learn a formula for selling my art or how to find the perfect clients or whatever Instagram and the like are selling these days. 

I want to paint and the older I get the more I want to protect my right to work as an artist. I don't always understand this calling or even always value it as I should. As you read last week art is always just something I have done, but these last 20 plus years I have done it with dedication, perseverance, and reverence. I didn't wake up one morning and decide to be a painter. It was decided for me and I resent trying to fit it into society's ideas of work, worth, and value. I have beaten myself up for years because I can't seem to make being a painter fit. Fuck that. I want to stop that. All I want to do is preserve my right to work as it is in my true nature. I'll figure it out. We will figure it out. 

This is not a hobby, a gimmick, a thing you turn off and on when you have a free weekend. This is constant, it's the way I see, feel, hear, it's the way I process information, it's the way I use language, it's also about the values I have, not to mention the skill, experience, and practice. It's about what is important to me and what I feel is important to the larger society. To dive into sound, art, words, a film: to dive in and swim away in the story of it all but to come back to this world knowing yourself and your fellow humans better, richer, deeper - that is what it is all about for me. This is what I am fighting for, to be able to take that dive and resurface here and still feel safe in this society. 

Thanks for joining me, the world needs us and our work. 

**********
And as always find my work currently at the following galleries and sites. 

Solo Gallery
Innerleithen, Scottish Borders
Scotland
I currently have seven pieces in the gallery.

The Velvet Easel Gallery
Portobello, Edinburgh
Scotland
You can catch my work in the Of Night and Light Exhibition until the 1st of March and in the upcoming exhibition, Where the Shadows Come to Play that will open on Saturday 7th March, 2020.

Fenix Gallery
Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
Ask to see my available small works and limited edition prints

Small works shop:
https://meganchapmanart.wixsite.com/shop

On all your favourite channels!
Web: www.meganchapman.com
IG: instagram.com/ethermaven
FB: facebook.com/megan.chapman.artist
Twitter: twitter.com/ethermaven
Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfrjufVJH-K49QhqOz4Rlmw (I am in the process of transferring my Tuesday Studio Video Visits over to Youtube)

And of course, at my studio G23, located at 36 Dalmeny Street Leith, Edinburgh EH6 8RG. I will gladly open by appointment. Next Open Studio March 1 from 12-5pm as part of the Makers Marque! Make plans to attend.

Walls too crowded, budget tight? You can still support my work. Click the link to buy me a coffee. Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter for exclusive content. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, February 7, 2020

Life of a painter : Origin Story

A place to breathe, mixed media on canvas 2019, 62 x 76 cm, Irving Gallery, Oxford. Exhibition Feb. 29 - Apr 18th.




I remember my hands around a crayon and a long roll of white butcher paper on the back porch floor during the summer. I was a realist back then, drawing my favorite doll Jenny (that my mother had made). Once her piercing green eyes and broad nose and wild hair were captured, I moved on to draw my stuffed animal, Ricky the Raccoon (my spirit animal if you will, after being gently bitten by one in Little Rock, Arkansas, I would joke that I was now part raccoon, or at least I hoped I was). These drawings had flair in the mark-making and a psychic understanding of the subject. They were not hard for me to do. There were spider plants captured in oil pastel and batik, abstracted and with a strong color palette created in the summer art guild class that my mom taught. Mom thought they were better than some of the older students' work and they were framed and hung on the wall for years. There was the little house print with its sweet and ragged line, not unlike the house we have all drawn but this was a monoprint done at a ridiculous age. I remember sitting on the steps of the old Catholic church with my mom on Lafayette Street across the road from the big old house that had the same windows as Old Main on the University campus. We sat there just thinking and drawing, her perfect version of the red brick home and mine, always off-kilter but still very much the same place.

Once I was school-aged, my second-grade teacher Mary Nordan championed me in my art and made sure I stayed on task with my reading (I fell behind for a bit but she caught me back up). Later in my life, fresh out of art school, I would end up working in her classroom catching up children on their reading too and this wonderful teacher would become a collector of my work.

In what is mostly called middle school these days or Junior High, I took all the art classes offered and yet I wasn't particularly good or bad at art, it was just something I did. Writing inched a little closer to stealing my heart then, as a way of dealing with the trauma, I felt by being subjected to this structure, age, and peer group. Junior High was my idea of hell, and I etched "Sex Pistols" onto a mirror in an art class that horrified my school teaching mother. I did draw E.T. upside down, dabbled in perspective, painting, and all sorts, thanks to my art teacher Kay Berkley. At home, the conversation was all about drawing from the right side of your brain. I started failing math, struggling in science, and being quickly left behind and so I disappeared into a haze of music and boys.

If I could just hold on to until High School, I heard rumors that all my peers would mellow out by then and not be so cruel, cliquey and status hungry. Well, that didn't happen but I ceased to care, as punk rock had rooted in my heart and given me hope and my individuality back. I did all the theatre (my first love) I could and after not taking any art for two years, stayed up one night creating a portfolio of paintings so I could try to get into advanced art my final year of high school. I succeeded, (thanks, Mrs. McNair). Again, I wasn't particularly good at it once in class or perhaps I didn't particularly care. I drew a woman in a fetal position trapped in a bag of water like a goldfish on its way home from the pet store. I will say my copy of "The Scream" on canvas board was spot on.

What I really wanted to be was an actress, and if that didn't work I told my 10th-grade English teacher, I would just work in the chicken plant, live in a tiny apartment and use candles to save money on electricity so I could drink beer and go to as many punk gigs as possible and do community theatre. I had it all planned out. I never worked in a chicken plant.

Art, dancing, singing, writing, acting and making people laugh. That's all I wanted to do. The arts fused in me like the rumble of a generator in the background, a continuous buzzing, and all of this before the age of eighteen.

And then I stopped. I had to get real. I had to go to University (or did I?) I had to get a job (or did I?) I definitely had lots of beers to drink and gigs to see (I excelled at this - straight A's). Let's call that my gap year.

My barely caring school years showed on transcripts, but I still got into the University of Arkansas. I majored in art (surprise!) not because of passion but because of doubt and fear. I needed a win. Well, I didn't get it. I got one semester of Drawing, Design, History, and English and then I withdrew the second semester during the week of spring break. I did get a love of Brian Eno from that first semester (thanks, to my drawing and design teacher, Kirsten Musnug). So perhaps it was worth it. I enjoyed the painting class I withdrew from that second semester but I couldn't understand the point in all the paintings looking like the professors.

Back to the bands, beers, and all the dishes I could wash at our local, fancy fine-dining establishment on the square. I did keep painting along with writing and was even in a community theatre production.  I was also 20 years old, drinking jugs of wine while listening to Robert Johnson during thunderstorms and smoking on the porch. "I've got mean things on my mind..." Oh, did I ever.

Finally, in a crazy flash of clarity or was it an obsession with the film "The Lost Boys" (because I liked the grandfather's house - the light and wind in particular, and the window over the kitchen sink). It was time to pack up and move away to Santa Cruz, California in 1993. My little town was about pop - gentrification: the first wave - and I couldn't sit there and watch. I was twenty-one. My two best friends had also decided to split the scene a few months earlier, so that made it easier to leave.

Santa Cruz sucked. My partner (who became my first husband) and I went to the library to check out a book on Eugene, Oregon. A music promoting friend had said it was a cool town. We read the blurb and it did sound good. On up the I-5 corridor, we went. We arrived in town and drove around. I asked Hank to pull over the truck so I could call my parents collect from the payphone. I told them that the light was incredible and that it already felt like home (very Mary Anne Singleton from Tales in the City, which would come to be PBS soon after and ignite my passion for the books by Armistead Maupin). The light always brings me to my knees. I remember much, much later crying over a plate of Pad Thai in Flagstaff, Arizona once because of the fucking light coming in through the windows. (If I ever doubt that I am an artist, I should remember my obsession with light). No wonder folks always ask me how I cope with painting in a windowless studio.

More dishes were washed, more beers had, more gigs were enjoyed as we made our way in this green and grey new world of the majestic Pacific Northwest. There were some false educational starts in Oregon too, first at the community college, it looked like I might be a theatre and art history major for a minute but then I was accepted to train as a drug and alcohol counselor and had to stop the drama.

Rest assured I came to my senses after a while and ran back to art history and then finally transferred to the Univerity of Oregon on a scholarship firmly to study art. No more hiding from my reality, I had to do this. I traded dishes, for selling newspapers, and then to reading books on to tape for the blind while I worked my way through University and I sank fully into painting, drawing, design, sculpture, photography, lithography, and art history along with my core liberal arts and language courses for my degree requirements.

Most importantly, I found the mentor and the professor who would change the game for me, Professor Ron Graff, a painter. Wonderfully talented and wry, branded demanding and difficult, I thrived under his guidance. I stayed on and was allowed to be my rebellious self as I went for my BFA in painting and drawing requiring yet another year of more formal and rigorous studio art practice. I received more scholarships and graduated with honors all while wrestling with a debilitating anxiety disorder which at times made the outside world too threatening to bear. My heart pod paintings and books were born, I learned how to talk about my work - I had finally found the calling that had been with me all along (there's no place like home) and I proved to myself I could stick with something and excel. I was twenty-seven.

These last twenty years have been dedicated to art but as I write and read this, my whole life has been. I moved across the country from Oregon back to Arkansas upon my graduation and tried to give the art scene in Fayetteville everything I could, before moving to Scotland. There have been countless paintings, exhibitions, galleries, studios, sales, blogs, videos, podcasts, communities, mentors, losses, relationship endings and beginnings, storms weathered, financial hardships, and of course, uncertainty and fear are still at hand and probably always will be.

However, it's the thread of art that has kept me together. The arts built me, and my family and many teachers listened and saw in me the need, ability, and passion. Various communities and patrons have supported me throughout these years and I keep finding more and more members of that community wherever I go. To say I am grateful is an understatement.

I have doubted myself so many times, I have thought that being an artist might be the biggest cop-out, the biggest fraud, and simply an exercise in ego, inherent poverty, and irresponsibility. I sadly still think this many days. Then I step back, I put on my headphones and listen to a piece of music that pierces my heart, I look at a painting that makes my pulse quicken and holds my mouth agape. I watch a film that breathes new life into my tired soul, I look to the flowers, the sky, and the glorious light and I catch my breath, tears come to my eyes, and I know I must stay free.

At forty-seven (forty-eight next month) this is no cop-out. This is my life. The life of a painter.

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Support my work

Friday, January 31, 2020

Opportunities require support



Dear Blog readers, Patrons, and Friends! 

I am pleased to share that I have some exciting opportunities coming up! Later this month I will be showing my work in Irving Gallery in Oxford, England and in the Solo Gallery in Innerleithen, in the Scottish Borders, and I will have a solo exhibition and art talk in April at the Helensburgh Art Hub, in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland!
I am excited to be expanding the reach of my work throughout Scotland and England. Over the last five years of living in Edinburgh, I have worked hard to get to this point. Of course, these opportunities create additional expenses. The framing of work when required, paying art couriers, and additional travel all add up and to the pressure. Please consider supporting me on my ko-fi page to help offset these expenses, whether through a one time tip or a monthly donation.
Thanks to those who have already supported me over the last 20 plus years. I would have not made it to this point without you. I am also available for commissions and always have a range of small works that are affordable and are designed to fit most budgets. Thank you.

Real talk :
Studio rent £204/month
Framing for Oxford £222
Courier to Oxford £104
Additional petrol/mileage/time expenses to pay a friend to get work to Innerleithen and Helensburgh ££
Taxi from framer to local gallery/studio with larger work £15/trip
Format Website $72/year
Wix Shop site £97.86/year
Ko-fi Gold site $54/year
Mobile phone (photos/videos/social media) £10/month
Canvas and paint, assorted supplies, packing materials, shipping, insurance. ££££/year
Scottish Artists Union dues/ liability Insurance £60/year
Bus pass to studio £57/month
50% commission to a gallery when and if they sell a painting. That means if they sell a painting for £1,200 I will get £600 and they get £600.

I share my art, my words, videos, photos and my vision across social media for free so that my patrons can see that I am continuing on the path, to build relationships, to share beauty, to challenge, inspire and encourage and to create opportunities just like these. If you’ve enjoyed my work consider the last 10-12 pieces of art you saw of mine like buying an album on iTunes or Bandcamp and tip me £10 or $10. Or just buy me a celebratory cup of coffee because of what is coming up for just £3. And just like that, you will become an art patron --a digital Peggy Guggenheim. Go on over to my ko-fi page now. 

Thank you and remember to keep fighting, the world needs you and your work.



And as always find my work currently at the following galleries and sites. 

Portobello, Edinburgh
Scotland
You can catch my work in the Of Night and Light Exhibition until the 1st of March 2020.

Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
Ask to see my available small works and limited edition prints

Small works shop: 

On all your favourite channels!

And of course, at my studio G23, located at 36 Dalmeny Street Leith, Edinburgh EH6 8RG. I will gladly open by appointment. 

Walls too crowded, budget tight? You can still support my work. Click the link to buy me a coffee. Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter for exclusive content. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi