Friday, October 31, 2008

Fire and Noise: Note to self and others.

"I found her on a night of fire and noise
Wild bells rang in a wild sky
I knew from that moment on
That I'd love her till the day that I died
And I kissed away a thousand tears
My lady of the Various Sorrows
Some begged, some borrowed, some stolen
Some kept safe tomorrow..."

Opening lyric from Do you Love Me by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

I am happy to report I have a featured exhibition coming up in February at the River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock, Arkansas. Now is the time to solidify my ideas and concepts, make my plans and get started. I am relieved to have this new focus. I have been drifting a bit since the last show in June and July and taking some serious down time. I have painted many small works on paper for my Etsy shop and managed about 12!?! canvas paintings since then as well, but just sort of floating through, un-moored.

I decided I would call my next exhibition "Fire and Noise" inspired by the above song. I am a new Nick Cave fan, always knowing his name but never listening to his music, well that has changed. This song has been on constant repeat in my ears for about 2 weeks, and I have watched the song's video (another inspiration) hundreds of times by now. Something about it just speaks to me currently.

When I am germinating ideas for new work, I feel the need to talk it out, test it out and share it with others and that is what I have done for the past week; sharing my thoughts with my community of artist friends near and far. The concepts become more clear when I write them to someone else rather than keeping them solely in my head. I want to compile some of this early correspondence here to remind me of what I want in this new body of work as I move forward in the process.

I recently wrote to a friend about my art career and he asked me the following questions. I think they are important and I want to remember them.
"...Why you paint like you do? Why you don't paint like you could? Why you're lost?"

My answers follow. I have a show in Feb. and I want to do all new work, perhaps work that won't even sell.( why I don't paint like I could).
I need money and I want galleries to be happy with me- If I paint like I could the paintings might not be as "lovely"(why I paint like I do).
I am lost because I am conflicted about marketable work/money vs. art/passion/purpose

Rest assured I am oversimplifying things in my response to his questions. I do not feel like I am just churning out art that looks good over someones couch simply to make money. I paint with the colors I do because I love those colors. I paint the way I do because it is the way I know to paint and it fits my brain most of the time. I do feel pressure (mostly self imposed) to paint things that have the ability to sell (we all have bills to pay), and perhaps are not the most challenging ie: nothing that new or revolutionary in the grand scheme of the art world. However, I don't really want to create "high art." A lot of what I see in famous art magazines is bizarre self indulgent pretentious shit (there I said it). I don't want to produce that, but I do want to put more of ME into my work, whatever that means. If I don't feel "lovely" perhaps the paintings don't have to be jewel toned, perhaps they can resonate a darkness or coal-like quality if that is how I really feel. (I told you in the title this was a note to myself) Anyway, I digress, back to my conversation with my friend about inspiration for the upcoming show.

I am serious about what I said about the Nick Cave song. I need something to fuel my fire and when I look at that video I would like to dive into that seedy world of fire and noise. But will it sell, who knows... and am I capable of making paintings full of noise and interference???

This is the thing, I doubt my ability to change, I know how to paint the way I paint, it is very intuitive at this point in the game and I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I don't want to begin again, I just want to be more free, and find a way to put more of me into the work, and as an abstract painter, I find that difficult. Certain colors could represent emotions, certain lines can mean things to me, but in the end, how different can it be? My hand does what it does.
In a different conversation with another I artist I talk again about what I am hoping to capture.

I want to take all the doubts, the highs and lows, the passion and drama and try to put them in this show. I am going to try to create Art and perhaps art that won't even sell, and try to be okay with that. We will see. I am tired of painting " lovely" paintings. I want a little more substance, something to ruffle my own feathers if you will. I need to get excited about a concept again. I want to go into something a little darker. If you look up the video for the song( Nick Cave's Do You Love Me?) those are the colors I am aiming for. I am not sure I can really pull this off, I may change in mid swing.. interference will feature prominently.. Buzz, hum, the shit that gets in the way.. electronic prattle of emails, and e-dreams, friends that are friends but not, borders and boundaries.

Sounds like an interesting concept, but again with only color and line, how is the prattle of email portrayed, how is the increasing bombardment of electronic noise captured in an abstract painting? This will be my challenge. I seem stuck in this idea that my work is simply lovely and has no substance as it is, and I don't think this is exactly true. I guess I do give into the pressure that "Art" should not be pretty or decorative but mean something. I am not sure if I can put meaning to the abstractions I create, even within this newly proposed conceptual framework.

Another conversation, again trying to put into words what I want to accomplish...
The ups and downs, the messes that I make, the mix of identities and self imposed pressures, the lines and darkness- I want all of these things to factor into my new work. Perhaps,
if the Evidence of the Disappearance was the rise, this show will be the fall- which may actually be free of all the nonsense and soar to new heights?!? Like dirty electricity, a certain truth, static, interference, not pretty- not perfect- Can I ? Do I dare?

Who knows? But I must try...

Today is the last day to purchase work from my Etsy shop and have 20% donated to my friend Will's health care fund. I appreciate all the purchases so far. Also if you put "blogger" in the memo to seller when you place your order I will gladly refund your shipping via paypal after your order is placed.Free shipping to anywhere in the world! So if you have been thinking about it, today is the day to act! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Also if you haven't already, please do not forget to Vote November 4th- this one is too important to miss- thank you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Songs about Painters and Painting

Talking Heads- Artists Only

I'm painting, I'm painting again.
I'm painting, I'm painting again.
I'm cleaning, I'm cleaning again.
I'm cleaning, I'm cleaning my brain.

Pretty soon now, I will be bitter.
Pretty soon now, Will be a quitter.
Pretty soon now, I will be bitter.
You can't see it 'til it's finished

I don't have to prove...that I am creative!
I don't have to prove...that I am creative!
All my pictures are confused
And now I'm going to take me to you.

Please visit to learn more about
my works on canvas and the galleries that represent me.
Visit for my affordable small works
on paper, and remember that 20% of my Etsy sales during
the month of October will be donated to Will Boyd's health
care fund. Thank you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tortured Artist: Myth or Reality?

Are you a tortured artist? Am I?

Wikipedia defines a tortured artist as "a stock character and stereotype who is in constant ferment due to frustrations with art and other people. The tortured artist feels alienated and misunderstood due to what they perceive as the ignorance or neglect of others who do not understand them, and the things they feel are important. They sometimes smoke, experience sexual frustration and appear overwhelmed by their own emotions and inner conflicts. The tortured artist is often mocked in popular culture for being attention seeking, narcissistic and unable or unwilling to make plans or just averse to happiness and fun. Often demonstrating self-destructive behaviors."

The wiki definition seems a bit humorous but perhaps it is actually accurate. So many of the artists that I know feel misunderstood; they are always comparing themselves to others, always wanting more attention and adoration and when they do not get these things to their satisfaction they rebel or shut down. Being an artist is such a weird job. It is so easy to give up and simmer in our own brooding stew of dissatisfaction.

What if I told you I think it is okay that you are "tortured?" What if it is okay to be a "starving artist?" So many books for artists these days make it seem like you should balk at these old antiquated ideas. They say today's artist can have your cake and eat it too. They say the starving artist is an old out-dated myth or paradigm. They say there is no room for "tortured" because you are too busy living the dream.

While this can be very encouraging, I also think it can put unrealistic pressure and expectations on one's self and art career.

Being an artist is a hard job. It is a job that does not always pay well and is erratic and unpredictable. Being an artist can be a very insular position, full of judgment and qualifiers for yourself and the work you produce. Over time I have decided that being an artist is not a choice. I think you are birthed into this position and hopefully learn to rectify and embrace it over a life time.

It is not all bad of course, but some days being an artist can seem like a form a torture. I know you come here for inspiration and hope, but I also think it my responsibility to be honest. This position has plenty of hardships and one can find themselves riddled with self doubt.

However, I am forever and always will be an artist. I will question, I will doubt and I will envy, but I will also feel great pride in the work I produce and I will always help other artists find this path, and attempt to make it as comfortable as I can for myself and those that follow. This position, this career, has many thankless tasks, and we will be at times misunderstood by ourselves and others.We will also feel unparalleled heights and be a part of unprecedented beauty and awe, that we can manufacture all on our own. I feel that is why we put up with the occasional torture, because the heights that we achieve can not be matched. The mythologies that we create are sacred and unique.

So, if you are feeling tortured, frustrated and misunderstood, don't feel the need to put a happy face on it right away and please know you are not alone. Keep fighting, keep trying, and give yourself a break. The lows can be dark, cold, and lonely but the highs are pure light and love and all of your own creation.

This post is dedicated to all the artists struggling on this path and questioning this way of living.There is something that you felt once, that was strong enough to sustain you and keep you here. Hold on to that and keep fighting and you will find your way back eventually. This will never be an easy path but it is worth it. Onwards and Upwards...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fade into you....

Dear Readers,

First, I must say how amazed and overwhelmed I was by the reaction to last week's post and all the support of my fund raising efforts for my friend Will Boyd. Many of you responded by not only purchasing my small works on paper from my etsy shop, but by taking it a step further and re-posting or linking to my blog on your own blogs! Some of you even donated art for Will's cause, giving a percentage or all of the proceeds to Will's health care fund. Also, many of my myspace friends re-posted countless bulletins to call attention to Will and our fundraising efforts. These are all very inspiring and selfless actions. I appreciate all of this and I know that Will and his fiance Elizabeth appreciate it greatly as well.

A short list of major players:
Michele Maule : (Amazing etsy shop owner and awesome artist) promoted my blog with mentions twice in her very popular blog, How to draw a cup of coffee.

Beth of Tangled Sky Studio: gave me another blog mention and then she donated 30% from the sale of this beautiful painting from her shop to Will's fund.

Deborah Burrows from England, purchased one of my small works on paper and then donated this painting from her newest series and 100% will go to Will. Her lovely painting is still available and can be found in her shop. $87.00 and free shipping! Please visit her shop or contact Deborah for more information about this painting.

Tim Lane donated a minimalist abstract painting from his pale series which sold right away in a myspace bulletin and 100% went to Will. Now, Tim has donated this painting from the same series and plans to donate 100% to Will again. $75.00 Please contact Tim if you are interested or want more information about this painting.

Istvan Ocztos from Budapest, Hungary bought Tim's first donated painting and then is donating the painting below for $95.00 and free shipping and 50% will go to Will's cause. Please contact Istvan if you interested or want more information about this painting.

Jerome Montens from France purchased one of my small works on paper and then posted this painting in an ebay auction with a minimum bid of $40 and has pledged to donate 50% to Will's cause as well. Please visit ebay and take a look if you are interested the auction ends on October 14. So get your bids in or contact Jerome for more information about this painting.

Thanks again to all my myspace & facebook friends that re-posted bulletins, sent helpful messages, and some even sent healing reiki energy through the cosmos direct to Will- you guys are just as important and major but there are too many of you to name! Thank you also to my dear blog readers for your continued support of me and my art.

And of course, thanks to everyone that purchased my small works on paper from my etsy shop. I sold fourteen small works on paper since October 2 when I started 20% for Will. I will continue to post new work in the shop as it becomes available and continue to donate 20% to Will the entire month of October.

Will's friend's have now set up a website that tells you more about him, as well as his humanitarian work and interests. The site makes it easy to donate to his health care fund as well. If you are interested in learning more about Will Boyd or donating please visit.

This is all about grass roots activism, caring for strangers, and sharing the wealth. There is a great deal of trust involved in all of this as well as idealism and hope. I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful and supportive community. This is how we get along in a strange and uncertain world. This is how we shrink boundaries and borders and rise above.

This is how we move onward and upward.
This is how we take care of each other, and this is how we take care of ourselves.

Thank you all.


All images copyright 2008 the respective artists, please do not use with out their expressed permission. thank you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

May our worlds collide...

The world is full of people working in their own circles, with their heads down doing their own thing. Some of these circles are small and some are larger. Sometimes while the small circles are spinning around they bump up against the larger ones, and then both circles become bigger as they overlap and pick up new people.

Today's post is about these circles and the connections that are being created that we have no idea about until, BAM! Our worlds collide and we don't know what hit us; but we do know we are now a part of something bigger and it feels good. What am I talking about?

Here's the deal, somehow last year, my website got passed on to a person in California by the name of Will Boyd. A friend of Will's thought he would like my work, which he did. Will liked my paintings so much, he even printed some up to put around his desk, they made him feel better.

My little circle was spinning oblivious and I was not aware I had this new fan in California. However, Will works with an organization that I was familiar with called Invisible Children. I had recently seen a screening of the film, and was terribly moved, so we had that connection, but that was about it. Larger circles connected the dots between us and I soon learned he was very inspired by my work and unfortunately that he was also very sick. The only thing I knew I could do, was to paint him a painting and mail it to him as soon as possible. The painting came together amazingly fast- it practically painted itself! While painting the piece, I had been emailing with Will and on the sly figured out what colors he liked, and which pieces of mine he responded to, I wanted the painting to be just right and really "click" just for him. I was so happy to have this secret project, it was incredibly exciting for me- it felt like Christmas! I will always remember the email I got from Will the day he mysteriously received the painting. I smile today, just thinking about it. Magic!

I believe there is a type of magic in this world, when people who don't know each other are suddenly connected through art, music, films, books- through so many things. Will is a good friend now- over the months we have traded video clips, short emails and facebook wall posts when he feels well enough. I am fortunate to know him, and proud to be a part of a very large circle of his friends from all over the world.

Unfortunately my friend Will's health is in crisis again and this time it appears to be even more serious, and this makes me very sad. Rather than just be sad, I want to share a little about his situation and how I plan to use my art to help him in a small way.

During the entire month of October, I will be donating 20% of all my Etsy sales to my friend Will Boyd who is dealing with a major health crisis with little funds and maxed out health insurance. That means every time you purchase a $25.00 painting, I will donate $5.00 and every time you purchase a $40.00 painting, I will donate $8.00 to my friend's health care fund.

Will has been critically ill with Lupus since he was 18. He contracted pneumonia during this time as well and the doctors consequently directed most of their attention to his lungs. However, they failed to notice the amount of trauma to his heart due to the Lupus. The latest biopsy tests show that his heart is in such a weakened state that it would not be able to be revived if he has a massive heart attack. Doctor's are unsure how to treat his condition and at this time under the advice of his nutritionist he is refusing treatment, until they can figure out some type of treatment plan.

Will has already racked up over $50,000 in medical debts and unfortunately he has maxed out his insurance and can't get any more because he has pre-existing conditions (Lupus).

Thank you for helping me to help my friend Will Boyd.
I do hope all our circles expand and our worlds collide.

New paintings are posted in my shop and I will continue to post more as the month progresses and as things sell! Enjoy.

please visit

Pictured Above
Favorite Way to Speak ($25)
Wired Communications ($25)
Megan Chapman
copyright 2008