Friday, December 28, 2007

Something Electric...

The Holidays are almost over now. Family and friends are soon departing and getting back to the work a day world. The holidays come on so fast and strong and just as they start they are over again. I am left wondering if I saw everyone I needed to and if I had the quality conversations I had intended. Overall I think this holiday was a success. I hope yours was too.

I like the in between time, when Christmas fades but the New Year has not yet begun. There is a stillness that comes at this time. A hopeful break, where a myriad of intentions run through my mind for the new year. I am excited by the opportunity to begin again, try one more time, and devise a new plan of action.

I have been taking some time off from painting to rest, visit with friends and family, and regroup and hopefully come up with some new ideas about where my work will head in the coming months. In 2007 I had so many opportunities come up spontaneously that, I did not have this luxury of planning. I seemed more to be painting to fulfill commitments and paint for specific exhibits. I am excited that in this new year I can slow down a bit and think about the direction I want to go, this is both exciting and terrifying. I am one of those people that works well under deadlines and under pressure. The exciting thing is I will get to create my own pressure and new challenges and push myself to reach my own set of new goals. There is still new work to send to the galleries that already represent me, there are relationships in those galleries to strengthen, there are new galleries and publications to submit my work to, and hopefully new clients to thank. New exhibits to schedule, and new opportunities to weigh. There will be paper work to file, blogs to write, websites to update and even redesign, photos of my work to take. So in many ways I know what to expect, and I will keep on the path I have set, and simply kick it up a notch.

However, I feel ( and maybe just because of the time of year again) that there is something electric around me, that something big may happen in my artistic life 2008. I also feel more and more connected to a network of artists and art lovers all over the world, and I feel the support and encouragement of those people. This support is instrumental in helping me break through and be the painter and person that I want most to be.

So, I write this with great excitement and anticipation- with a whimsical hope for all of us. Let this be my year, and your year too. I am eager to return to the studio, where I will put on my headphones, go within and paint for us all.

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2008...

I was recently interviewed by Tim Lane for his MySpace blog "Artist Interviewing Artist." If you haven't read it yet you might enjoy it.
Click here for the interview

See my painting "Two Lovelies" at Remy Fine Art
720 Garrison Ave. Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Open: T-F 12-5
and by appointment.

"Secrets Revealed" Works by Megan Chapman and Steve and P.J. Robowski
December 6-January 18th

Friday, December 21, 2007

Original art is like fresh basil.

Christmas came a bit early for me this year. I first saw the artist, Michele Maule's work in person at the DDP Gallery Small Works show and knew I liked her paintings. I wanted something a bit bigger, so in this case I needed to buy it from Etsy. I came across a painting called Detroit Water Tower, and I decided I had to have it, so I placed the order. The piece had the right mood for me, I just felt it. A short couple of days later, the painting arrived in the mail! I was so excited, there is something a bit scary yet thrilling about ordering art online. We all know that everyone's monitor is different and that photographs of art can be wildly different as well. However, when I pulled it out of the box it was perfect!! I propped it up in its temporary home, and kept stealing glances at it all day. I looked at it from far away and up close. I studied the piece and I thought about the process involved and about the artist who created it.

Later that night a friend called, and I had to tell her about the new piece of art I had received. I was so excited, buying art is such a thrill and I mentioned to her that I felt original art is like fresh basil. Fresh basil is so alive, the smell, the texture, it is like pure energy in your hand. Dried basil is so different, it works but the energy isn't the same, it smells different, you don't feel its wet freshness in your hand, it doesn't interact with you the way fresh basil does. Fresh Basil can be transporting. Original art has this same energetic presence, it enters into your environment and has the power to change it. Simply amazing.

I never used to buy art. I made art, so I hung my own paintings around the house. I wasn't making any money selling my art back then either, so I couldn't afford to. As my pieces began to sell, I decided that I too needed to walk the walk and start buying original art. It is one of the best things I have ever done. Speaking from experience I know how that artist feels when they sell a piece of their work. I also know that selling that piece can be the difference in sticking with it and packing it in. My collection is just getting started, most of it small works, and mostly from Arkansas artists. I have the under $200 collection so far, and I have found gems for $40.00 and even under. Remember, it is not what you pay, it is how it makes you feel.

Anyway, this is another challenge if you haven't already or if you haven't in a long time, consider buying yourself or someone a small original piece of art. You are worth it, they are worth it, and that artist's work is certainly worth it. Buying art is such a profound thing to do for yourself and your environment and for the artist you are now supporting and encouraging.

Don't miss the small works show at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. My small collection has several pieces by some of the featured artists represented there. I have several pieces of Ginny Sims' stunning decal ceramic works, several of Mark Traughber's fabulous stenciled wood panels, and some of those cool Wrecords by Monkey bracelets. Sarah Nunn's purses are the only purses I will carry (don't miss Sarah's fresh modern felt wall art as well) and now I have a Michele Maule piece too! There are many other talented artists showing their work at the DDP gallery that might be just perfect for you!

Pictured above:

Small Works 2007 postcard image ( courtesy)

Artists listed from left to right, top to bottom: Helen Phillips, Susan Freda, Nicole Sharp, Toma Miller, Mark Traughber, Lucas Taylor, Wrecords by Monkey, Ginny Sims, Joseph Maggiore, Michele Maule, Sarah Nunn, Alexander Abajian
DDP Gallery
7 East Mountain St.
Fayetteville. AR
On Display December 05, 2007 - January 19, 2008

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bravery and the art of being an artist

2008 is quite close on the horizon now. How is the new year going to unfold artistically for you? Will you simply repeat 2007? Do you prefer to let the year unfold organically, or perhaps you have an over zealous plan that leaves you overwhelmed before the new year has even started? Today, I would simply like to encourage you to be brave in your artistic life in 2008. Before you leave here thinking I am about to dispense some self help nuggets... hear me out.

You are already brave by simply calling yourself an artist. Ask yourself how brave you are currently being in your artistic life? Is there room for improvement? Here are some ideas or questions to get you thinking of ways to be more brave and get your art career rolling in 2008.

First, are you taking any creative risks with your work or are you producing the same ol' thing again and again? Ask yourself if your work still strikes a chord within; if it does, keep doing what is working for you; if it doesn't, ask yourself what changes you could make that would get you excited again. Have you submitted any work to an art journal or magazine, or an online gallery such as Saatchi gallery online, popexperiment, myartspace, or juxtapoz magazine?

Have you done anything bold to promote your art on myspace, facebook, or joined an online art forum? Have you submitted your work to a jurried competition in your area?

Have you visited any new galleries to see if your style of work might fit in the mix, and then asked about the submission process?

When you find yourself in a creative rut, do you try something new, ask for help or trade critiques with another artist you know?

If you are art rich and cash poor, have you tried to trade your work for services or other art?
If your supplies are running low, have you tried budget supplies or asked to see if anyone has any extra materials that they are not using?

Have you approached an artist you admire for any help or mentoring? Have you started working on creating a free art portfolio or web presence? Have you started a blog about your art?

Many of the opportunities that have come up in my career were caused by spontaneous acts of bravery. When you get those wild outlandish, positive "what if" ideas in your head, go for it in 2008. Email that artist, call that gallery, make that trade, enter that show, comment on that blog you lurk on, take that class, quit your job (within reason- please have some plan), ask stupid questions to other professionals and just go for it.

Make 2008 the brave year, the year you really went for it. The year it all came together.
This is a challenge.... Leave me a comment about one thing you have been thinking of pursuing for your art career or artistic life that alluded you in 2007 that you are really going for this year.

We can do this!

Pictured Above:

What Went Before
Megan Chapman
Mixed Media on Canvas
available at the ddp gallery

Friday, December 7, 2007

Secrets Revealed

Last night, I walked into Remy Fine Art in the Town Club in Ft. Smith, and I was stunned. I enjoyed my exhibit as a viewer might for the first few moments. My work looked brand new to me, the colors on the canvases sparked off each other. A selection of rich oranges, deep blues and golds drew me in. Everything miraculously fit the space perfectly. When I paint and gather work together for an exhibit, I rarely know how the work will fit in the space. When I walk into a venue and see the work filling the space perfectly and all the pieces are playing off each other in a way that seems to make perfect sense; I know there is magic operating in the world, and I am lucky to be a part of it. That magic exists in the gallery owner's vision for my work as they hang it, the things that I can't see anymore, they discover. They let the work speak to them in words that I can no longer hear since I am too close to the work. It really is a thrill for an artist.

PJ and Steve Robowski's beautiful and unique stained glass pieces were a treat for me as well, and I am pleased we had the opportunity to exhibit together. A big thank you goes out to Jeanne Parham and her assistants at Remy Fine Art, you really know how to put together a great show. I completely enjoyed myself, and it was great to meet and speak with everyone there at the opening about my work.

For those of you who can't make it to the show, I would love to share my work with you here. If you see pieces you are interested in or would like more information about my work, please contact Jeanne Parham. Secrets Revealed, will be on display from December 6- January 18. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-5 and by appointment. Remy Fine Art is located in the Town Club at 720 Garrison Ave. in Ft. Smith Arkansas.

* The slide show with this post is now out of date. Many of these works may still be available for purchase. Please check my website to find out their current location and my most up to date gallery affiliations.