Friday, April 25, 2008

Examining the Evidence

The winner of last week's glowing horse print is Ryan Manning! Congratulations! Please contact me so I can mail the print to you. Thanks again to everyone for the wonderful comments!

I have only two more paintings to create, and then I believe Evidence of the Disappearance will be complete. Before I begin those two pieces, I wanted to slow down a bit and just be with my work. I am rarely with it for long, just the time it takes to paint, title, and prepare the work for shipment or travel to one of the galleries. I always look forward to seeing my paintings again in the galleries during a visit; it is almost like seeing an old friend. I notice things I have never seen before and enjoy seeing my work out of the studio environment and on the gallery walls where my paintings can be properly displayed and lit.

Yesterday, after putting finishing touches on a few pieces, I just sat down on the floor of my studio. I took a few deep breaths. I was surrounded by twenty eight new paintings of assorted sizes and orientations. Some were titled, while many were still waiting for their names. I just let my eyes work over the surfaces, examining their colors, textures and shapes. I was trolling for their secrets, trying to find their meaning and the common connections they share. Their stories are waiting to be released. I could almost hear a faint buzz, or a backlog of stories. They are all there, but my eyes will have to tease them out and then I will have to find the words. (We are just getting to know each other.) The stories of these paintings will be mine for a while to share and then they will become yours, the viewers. You will then see, question and hear things in these paintings that I cannot but we will still share them and make a connection.

Gold seems to feature prominently in this body of work as does the diamond/ovoid shape. The shape that was once a lotus petal has now broken away to float, hover, overlap, and pulse on the diagonal in these works. A warm palette of rusts, orange oxides, the usual suspects, and my favorite deep blue tie many of the pieces together. A cool aqua brings a punch and signals the spring and the winter (hoping for the spring) in which these paintings were created. Fine lines connect some of the elements, holding and grounding them to the paintings. I see a rough, almost acidic texture in some of the diamond shapes and
backgrounds. Elements bubble up and through, while surface layers hide and conceal yet still allow for a peek.

Some of these paintings are like swimming deep in the ocean and looking at the layers of light from up above, filtering down. Calm and meditative yet bold and assertive, the shapes call for attention and also push away and create distance. These paintings remind me of the wind in the tall trees outside my studio windows, the sound of my ocean.

Pictured above:
Caught between the Disconnect
Mixed Media on Canvas
30x24, 2008

Mixed Media on Canvas
30x24, 2008

These are just two of the new paintings that will be featured in my upcoming exhibition:
Evidence of the Disappearance
Blue Moon Gallery
Hot Springs, Arkansas
June and July 2008
If you are in the area, please join me for the opening reception Friday June 6 from 5-9pm,during first Friday gallery walk.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Glowing Horse

Art is so strange when you really think about it. As you know, I will always question my reasons for being an artist. I will always wonder if I am an artist for the right reasons. I will always question the work I create. I will always approach my work with trepidation and wonder. I will always feel some guilt and sadness for not choosing an easier more stable path, and at the same time I will feel guilt and sadness for choosing such an easy path. I will always wonder what people are talking about, when after I tell them I am an artist, they say "that must be so much fun." I will always hope I stay relatively healthy since I don't have health insurance. I will sometimes feel like a child because of the typical adult trappings I lack. I will always feel a little sad when I get compliments that I can't live up to, but mostly I will feel flattered. I will then wonder if I suffer from false modesty.

When I was a child in elementary school, I loved "show and tell." I couldn't wait for it to be my turn, so I could sing "I'm in the mood for love" that I had just learned from watching an episode of the Little Rascals. I couldn't wait to tell stories about the raccoons that would creep in my window at night and curl up on my bed to sleep. I even fantasized about show and tell. I had very long hair when I was young, and I dreamt that I would arrive at school wearing a hat and my teacher would call me to the front of the room for that days sharing, and I would simply remove my hat and all my long hair would be gone! That never happened.

I sung "Fame... I wanna live forever" at the top of my lungs in the 5th grade talent show- and I meant every word. So, this sharing, showing and telling has always been a part of my life, and I have always wanted to be a little famous, and I have always wanted to live forever... So, that is why I am here. I don't have a choice.

I wanted to be a dancer, then a singer, then an actress, and now an artist (I was always an artist) but that has been the progression. Some days I wanted to be a comedian or a DJ. I think being an artist is the safest choice, and it seems to fit my personality the best.

This choice makes even more sense to me now. I feel a type of connection to all the other artists in the world, more of a connection to their sensibilities than to anything else. I love the books they read, the music they listen to, their ideas about the world, and the way they maneuver through it. They are all searching, connecting, being too honest and vulnerable. Some of them steal ideas and images from each other, personalities even. It is fascinating to watch. I am glad to be a part of this. Very human and real. There are a lot of lovely people out there, these artists. I am struck by the fact that they are all hustlers. They are working so hard. We are all working so hard, for each others affection, attention, money, praise, and hopefully sometimes for ourselves.

This week, as I was busy working in my studio, I had a sudden urge to paint something different, rather than my usual shapes and colors. One of the images from my 1999 book series came to mind, The Glowing Horse. Suddenly, I wished I could cover the two large canvases before me with blue - the perfect blue of my dreams. I wished I could draw the outline of the horse of my past in white chalk. Why did the glowing horse decide to show up then, and what was he trying to tell me?

I just kept working on the usual and I smiled at the thought.
I am so glad to be a part of this.

Now, for two exciting announcements: First, this post marks the one year anniversary of the Studio Blog! Thanks so much for reading and cheering me on! Second, It is time for the paper painting/print give away! This month I will be giving away a 8x10 glossy print of The Glowing Horse to one lucky reader that leaves a comment on today's blog. I will mail to anywhere in the world. I will randomly draw a number to correspond with the comments in the order they are received. Leave your comment between now and Tuesday at midnight. I'll post the winners name in my blog next Friday; please be sure to check back, so that I can contact you. I really appreciate everyone who reads and comments on my studio blog. Thanks again for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me. GOOD LUCK!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tell it like it is- I can take it...

Part 1: Thanks: and the hanging of a new shingle

Thank you to everyone who viewed "Gathering the Evidence" as I write this my little film has been viewed 262 times, and that is pretty sweet. The feedback I received was very helpful and inspiring.Thank you to new friend and talented photographer Craig Nelson who also viewed the video and was moved enough to want to come over and see the paintings in person.We had a wonderful visit, and he took a lovely photograph of my studio. I love making these connections, and creating this community. Craig and I share many of the same ideas about sharing information as artists, so be sure to check out his blog- Shutter to Think, and his wonderful photographs. I was thrilled to find myself featured in his blog as well. Speaking of being featured in blogs, it was a two blog week for me, as I also found myself mentioned and some of my work featured in artist Stephanie Mallicotte's blog. Check it out. It is always exciting to be thought of and included in people's blogs. Thanks for the publicity and support!

I want to mention a brand new service I am offering. I am now available for online portfolio review/consultation. I get approached quite often on MySpace for this kind of service. Send me an email or message with a link to your painting portfolio or questions about your art, and for a $25.00 suggested donation sent to my paypal button here on my blog, I will spend an hour poring over your work( up to 20 pieces) and then give you a list of positives, cautions, and then specifics about each piece. I am very detailed and efficient at this, and I promise as an artist myself, I will be encouraging but you will also get some honest feedback. Once I email the review to you, if you have a few short follow up questions in regards to things I mentioned that is also included in the $25.00 donation. I also encourage folks to read back through my blog, as there is a lot of free helpful information available, you just have to dig for it a bit.

Part 2- Studio News: The Evidence

The work in the studio is going well. I have been hard at work on 2 24x30's and 2 30x24's this week. Moving on to the larger works for the exhibition, things will start to slow down now. Some titles have emerged such as Chatter on the Lines, Caught Between the Disconnect, We talked like Dancing Feet and These are not my Secrets. I hope to create another short film as the work for the Evidence of the Disappearance continues. If you are in Arkansas or close by save the date and come to the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs for the opening reception on Friday, June 6 from 5-9pm

Part 3- What you came here for: A good story

The following quote was written in a moment of clarity 1/4/06 ( yep- we are briefly going back in time again)

"I am a painter. So deeply I am a painter. It makes me want to cry. How can I forget so easily? How can I let myself go without working? Not much brings me more pleasure or happiness. It is earned as this is not easy, no matter how many times I pretend or let myself think it is."

Occasionally, I have to remind myself. I needed to write this down a little over two years ago, and in the future I will write it down again, and it will be like a brand new discovery. I am a painter, yet I know I will forget. Do you forget sometimes? Do you push it aside, burying it under practicalities and the time frames of your life? Do you get discouraged and veer off course?

Some perspective for us both; my first solo show was in a popular local hippie "health food" restaurant in Eugene Oregon, in 1997 just a bit over 10 years ago. I want to share my statement from that show. ( Click on the picture to make it bigger) At the time, as you can see I was just going for my BA at the University. I remember the BFA seemed out of my league at the time. I am so glad I changed my tune, as once in the program I soon learned the F stood for FUN, and I experienced a new side of the art department, and explored all aspects of my creativity. If you read my statement, my main goals were to simply finish school, show and sell my art and move back home to open a "junk store"( it was to be called Finders Keepers- and sadly that hasn't happened, yet...) Looking at this statement, I can't believe I would show a body of work without any titles, as titles are so important to me now. I was so jazzed about this series of work ( my heart pod series) It was in creating this body of work that I became an oil painter and learned a lot about color and texture.

I tied a small spiral notebook to a hook in the wood paneled wall of the restaurant to gather comments about my work. In the front of the book I wrote among other things..."Tell it like it is, I can take it"

So, they told me... You can read a few of the comments for yourself.There were a few positive ones, if you count " Jesus loves you- Megan, " and "Demon painting is the best- I love it" Needless to say I did not sell a single painting from this series of self proclaimed masterpieces, during this show or ever.

My first solo show would basically be considered by many a flop. For me it was the experience that mattered- or at least that is what I told myself.

The show ended and I collected my work and my sad little comment book of scribbles, from the restaurant.I guess you could say, I had some things to consider.

I could've become sad and apparently even more depressed and quit right there.

I could've decided to fulfill the basic requirements for my degree, considered myself a hack and gotten the hell out of there.

Or, I could laugh at it all, chalk it up to experience, resume building and keep looking for other opportunities to show. I am sure you know what I did. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be writing you this blog, preparing for a show, have gallery representation, not to mention collectors across the country.

Time line (a little more perspective)
  • 1995 first group show
  • 1997 first solo show in restaurant
  • 1999 BFA awarded: terminal books project
  • 2002 received cash prize at juried art show
  • 2003 first major sale
  • 2004 first gallery representation
  • check my resume at for what happens next...
This is not an easy career path- especially when many artists have other jobs, families, and real world responsibilities but if you know that somewhere inside you, your art brings something to your life that nothing else quite does, then I encourage you to stick with it no matter what. Keep building your resume, keep putting yourself out there, keep working on your art, and then don't forget to look back and remind yourself how far you've come.

Remember, "I am a painter. So deeply I am a painter. It makes me want to cry. How can I forget so easily? How can I let myself go without working? Not much brings me more pleasure or happiness. It is earned as this is not easy, no matter how many times I pretend or let myself think it is."

Onward and upward and good luck!