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!


  1. onwards and upwards and its off to
    find.. 'demon painting'? how odd.

    i'm sure you realise that your first show was so much more than 'flop' now & a very valuable experience; it is testiment to you that people chose to leave any comments at all.

    it isn't an easy career path & many will fall, but you show a determination that becomes an inspiration to many.

    nobody said it would be easy, if you wanted easy you'd be working at the factory.

    you work & attitude towards your work is a true inspiration.

    not to mention your beautiful paintings.

  2. When we allow ourselves to be consumed by, moved by the thing we seek, we forget about the self-serving desire to become the creator.

    I used to sing, because I wanted to be famous, get laid, make riches.

    I failed music.

    I used to pen poetry, because I wanted to be famous, get laid, make riches.

    I failed the poem.

    I now make photographic images because I love light. I don't care if I die poor with my finger on the shutter. What I do know is that 3 Sundays ago, out of desperation, I picked up my RB67 and went to town. I haven't been the same, since.

    I enjoyed our discussion. You bolstered my confidence in my own abilities, pissed gas on my fire, led by example, etc.

    Thank you for that.


  3. Wow Megan! This is the best blog of yours I've read in a while. For some reason it touched me - I feel tearful! I'm not ashamed to tell you that because I too have to remind myself that I am still that little girl who doesn't want to do anything but paint, paint, paint...
    On a different note aimed at your readers - TAKE MEGAN UP ON THE REVIEW SERVICE - Megan kindly did this for me, and it was PRICELESS!! Forget the money - it's what you'd pay for lunch somewhere with a mate, but this is far, far more valuable. Her comments are real, honest, and really helpful. Straight after her review I painted a cracking picture that had all the right contents - it wasn't intentional - I set out to paint a picture and the next thing I knew, it was the best!
    Many, many thanks Megan - what would we do without you?
    Debs xx

  4. Megan,
    Your blogs always hit home. I Dream about what my path in the arts has for me. But in the end it's just the art and expression that counts. win win? lose win? either way has a win.

    I have decided to keep a journal about my activties. I owe this to you. Thanks.

    My best,

  5. Megan: This is from Victorian Artist........

    This blog came at the right time as yesterday I attended a pastel class that I found to be quite discouraging. I thought I understood the medium better than I did so after seeing the end result, I was deeply frustrated. It served as reconfirmation that graphite is the only medium I can work in, as I seem to be too tense or tight to work in other media. My instructor is a great local artist, but "no teacher" in my opinion. Then I realized it was due to lack of experience on my part which made me only so much more discouraged. This only led me into making a mess until late hours of the night on my kitchen counter.

    Then I read this blog that tells me to keep on going and not to give up. If you could go through all of this and end up where you are now, then I know to keep pressing on.

    Thanks for sharing with us. I love some of the comments above especially the "pissed gas on my fire...."

  6. You're touching people. That's so cool. I dunno what else to say.
    ~Dede (& Heidi Ho Ho)

  7. Megan!

    Thank you so much.
    I read this blog earlier today, but I wanted to take a while and really digest it before I left a comment.

    Thank you for reminding me that I am a painter. That I am an art maker. This is who I am. I AM an artist. That I have come a loooong way in my work. That no matter what happens so me, I will always have a need to make things with my hands.
    And that being an artist is not an easy task...even though I try to pretend like it is. :)

    Wow. I am an artist, and so are you. And that is pretty damn cool.

    Thank you.

  8. You're really reaching out to people Megan - how cool is that?!! You know you should one day consider writing a book about your path as an artist...complimented with your art as full colour images on the page - it would be a wonderful, encouraging read and be sold all over the world!!! I'd buy it!
    Good luck in all you do. x

  9. I want to see this controversial demon painting...

    What kind of art would we have if we weren't "bombarded with" the artist's depression once in a while? No Van Gogh, no Ian Curtis, no Thoreau....I could go on and on.

    And after seeing some of the work displayed ONF in the past, sometimes I highly question the opinions of health food eaters.

  10. Wow- I am overwhelmed... I am so glad this post touched some of you, and that my experience could encourage folks to continue on the path. I have to say tears welled up in my eyes a few times while I read these comments. I do enjoy sharing on here with my readers, but I am not sure the demon painting will ever see the light of day again...

    I have to maintain a little mystery... Perhaps it will be uncovered in 20-30 years and we can all have a good laugh. And for the record, I always thought my demon was inquisitive and cute- never depressing...thanks everyone!

  11. I'm finally catching up on the last few posts, as I've been too busy navel-gazing in my own little documentary-editing world to pay attention to what other artists around me are creating ;-). I'm so excited about your upcoming show! I'm definitely putting that date on my calendar and planning a road trip to HS for it... And what can I say, I loved the video glimpse into your studio world! How cool to be a voyeur to your creation process. I've fallen in love with your studio, by the way- can I come over and meet it in person?! Keep up the great work, and thanks again for sharing your experiences- both the not-so-inspiring ones as well as the ones that we all long for as artists. You certainly are doing your fellow artists (and art appreciaters) a great service with this here blog of yours...

  12. I enjoy reading your blog every week. I enjoy looking at your paintings. You are a great artist. I enjoy reading your blogs

  13. Megan,

    Thanks for putting so much of yourself out there. I am so impressed that you were brave enough to leave that notebook out there for people to make "live" comments in. You inspire me to be braver!


  14. Thanks Sarah- you are more than welcome to come over and meet the studio anytime- that would be fun!

    Thanks Josh for reading and enjoying.

    Thank you Sandy for saying that I am brave. I think all of us in the creative world have to be a bit brave to do this at all.

    Anyway, I am happy to see everyone's comments on this post. I feel very supported in my work because of it- and that means a lot.

    What am I going to come up with this Friday? So fast the time is speeding a long. I will think of something... Thanks again everyone!