Friday, December 26, 2008

"You're more than what some people let you know..."

I hope all my readers had a wonderful holiday yesterday with friends and family. Perhaps you had a few minutes to yourself to just be still with a good song, a dream, a book, anything that makes you happy and that you were all safe and warm.

Time marches on, and this year seemed to go at warp speed. I know we still have some time and I am jumping the gun a bit. I just feel the need to see where I have been before I move into the next year. This may make for boring reading for you, but I hope it will encourage you to really think about all the things you have done with your art/life this past year. I don't care if you are only a part time or sporadic artist, or a seasoned professional. Last year in my post Bravery and the Art of being an Artist , I challenged my readers to set some goals and really go for it in 2008. I know that many of you have really been working hard this year and you deserve to give yourself credit for all your efforts. Sometimes it is easy to disregard your accomplishments unless you write them down. Feel free to post them in the comments or keep them to yourself. I try to keep up with many of you, and I must say how impressed and inspired I have been with your amazing paintings, your promotions, and your shows over this past year.

My 2008...

We will start with some of the negatives...

I dealt with a major rejection last January after my work had been sought out and was considered for reproduction by one of my favorite stores, an international company based in Sweden(you know the one). Going through that long process was a thrill and filled me with hope, confidence, and excitement but also drained me. It looked like it was a "go" right until the end and then it just wasn't. I posted about it vaguely in my blog and said I was going to give myself half a day and some soy ice cream to be really miserable and then just get over it. Ha! If you noticed less "rah rah- you can do it", and more "what is this all about?" in my blog posts this year, I suspect this had something to do with it. It took more than a half day to get over it to say the least. All in all, it was an honor to be considered and I did learn a lot about the process and also how I feel about the business of reproductions.

Last year, I said I was going to enter a particular juried publication, even though I always get rejected, well I entered and I got rejected again! I will probably enter it again this year as well; sometimes we just have to do these things.

Also, two of the galleries that represented my work unfortunately closed this year due to the economy among other things. I was sad that they closed, but like they say "one door closes, another one opens." Thanks for the memories, Gallery Fraga and Remy Fine Art. It was a pleasure to work with you both.

Alright, enough of that.. lets get to the fun stuff.

I didn't get in the one publication but I did get in another. Studio Visit accepted my work, and the reproductions of two of my paintings in that journal were stunning. I was very pleased to be a part of the first issue of that publication. I also received a very nice letter from a stranger who had come across my work in Studio Visit and they shared how my work had moved them and that meant a lot to me. Also because of the Studio Visit publication, I was approached by a company that specializes in reproductions for the hotel and hospitality industry, and was offered a contract to have my work reproduced. This was again a thrill to be sought out, but in the end the contract didn't meet my needs and I passed on the opportunity. I learned a tremendous amount about the reproduction/art licensing industry in 2008, and I am grateful for that knowledge and I hope I will be able to use it in the future. I am now getting pretty good at processing these types of contracts from these experiences. I am also getting pretty good at listening to my gut and making sure I don't jump on every "opportunity" that comes my way.

Another of my goals for 2008 was to submit my work to at least two new galleries for consideration, and I am pleased to report I did fulfill this goal. I submitted my work to two galleries in Atlanta, Georgia, one gallery in Kansas City, Missouri and one gallery in Portland, Oregon.We will see what happens. At the present time, none of these galleries showed me much, if any interest, and I did get one firm rejection but I am putting myself out there and that is part of the game, you can't win them all. One day soon, there will be an opening for my work in these larger markets.

Another positive in 2008 was my newly revamped website, created and updated by myself using iweb on my imac. I am so happy to have a website that is easily updated, that I can managed quickly and easily by myself. I am very proud of myself for taking care of this part of my business.

I had a successful exhibition at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs in June and July, Evidence of the Disappearance. This show taught me so much about myself, my art, and my need to share the experience with other creative people. I felt that I had been working in a vacuum before this exhibition and it was such a wonderful experience to bounce ideas off fellow artists and receive invaluable feedback and inspiration. I picked up a lot of blog readers during this process as I promoted my work in progress through as many online outlets as possible. I blogged and MySpaced about it, I made youtube videos, I vlogged, pod casted, created an exhibition catalog with, and a beautiful postcard. I explored all means available to me in promoting this show. I was very proud of the paintings that were created, and my use of technology to promote and share these paintings. I will always look back on Evidence of the Disappearance as a success and an important time in my life.

I also tried to diversify and offer other services as the economy took a down turn. I offered portfolio reviews for the first time ever, and really enjoyed the opportunity to look through other artist's work and give them feedback or answer their specific questions at an affordable rate. I am still available for this service.For a $25 suggested donation through my paypal button on my blog, I will look at up to 20 images of your work and give you detailed written feedback, note themes or problems or answer your specific questions regarding your work. Artists who have used this service in the past have found it helpful. Contact me for more details.

I also started my own shop at called ArtMaven this past September. I have been thrilled with the response to my Etsy shop, and happy to be able to offer people my affordable, one of a kind original small works on paper.I have sold fifty five small works to people all over the country and world since opening my shop. Every time a small piece sells for $25 or $40 it is a thrill and keeps me excited and hopeful while waiting for my larger paintings in the galleries to sell. The galleries that represent my work sold quite a few larger paintings this year as well, and I enjoyed working on several commissions through the galleries as well.

And now as 2008 wraps up I am busy finishing up my next exhibition, Fire and Noise which will open Friday Feburary 13th at the River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock Arkansas. I look forward to seeing this body of work to completion and sharing these works with you all as well as the public that will come to see them.

These are just some of the highlights of 2008, a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of learning, a lot of communicating and making connections, a lot of wonderful and new friendships forged. A lot of 3am wake up calls and many many many paintings of iron oxide, blue, textured atmosphere, lines and shapes. Many great songs played full blast over my headphones while jumping up and down in front of my easel. I want more of all of that in 2009.

I have many more coals in the fire as well, I am currently looking at getting a studio space outside my home and talking to an out of state gallery about a possible show in the Spring. I have some goals planned for the new year as well. I want to take more risks with my work. I want follow up with the galleries I submitted to earlier this year as well as submitting to more galleries this next year. I want to travel more and get out to see more great art in museums and galleries. I also want to keep painting small works and restocking my etsy shop regularly. I want to enter more juried exhibitions like I used to do before I was represented by galleries. These are just a few ideas...

How was your 2008 and what do you have planned for 2009 ?

I wish you the freedom to know your talents and strengths and to be more kind to yourself this year than you were last year. We are all going to get rejected, have slow months, question our work, question ourselves, but just know we are in this together. In the new year when you are painting and it is clicking, when you suddenly feel free and like everything is possible; hold on to that moment. They come and go so fast but those moments are why we do this work. Those flashes keep calling us back to this madness, this amazing life as an artist.

May 2009 be filled with these flashes for us all...

At a loss for words (I wanna be adored)
Mixed media on Canvas
copyright 2008
Megan Chapman
Fire and Noise series


  1. Hey Megan! Let's hope everyone has a great 2009


  2. Wishing you the very best year ever Megan. Your blog was incredible and insightful...I celebrate your accomplishments and admire the way you conduct yourself regardless of circumstances. Your strength in BEING an artist is quite something to behold. Follow your dreams...I'm sure they will lead you to a most amazing place!

  3. I am wondering what makes you qualified to charge money for portfolio reviews, or even provide that "service", other than a bachelor's degree. I think it's a shame that you exploit (yes, "exploit") eager artists in this way. You are charging people based on their hopes and dreams, and your desire to be able to put a price tag on anything you do. Get an actual job if you need money that badly.
    Are your readers also aware that there are many FREE opportunities for portfolio reviews at local art institutions, every single year, sometimes twice a year? These are "services" provided by trained professionals with MFA's who work at art schools across the nation.
    There are these services available for free, by people more qualified.
    And if this isn't about getting into art institutions, why don't you let the individual galleries do the reviewing, again, for FREE?

    You seem to exploit art more than you create it. You've reduced your paintings to mere product at this point. It's sad to me.

  4. Dear Anonymous:

    What makes me qualified to give occasional portfolio reviews? I am a working artist that has had some moderate success over the last ten to fifteen years, showing my work in galleries,juried shows,and in a few publications. During this time,I have learned a tremendous amount from my fellow artists as well as from the gallery owners that have represented my work. People have purchased my paintings and have also given me valuable feedback regarding these paintings.

    As you mentioned I do have my B.F.A, which is a five year studio degree in the arts. For my degree I worked alongside MFA students at times, sharing readings,critiques and the same professors. I do not have an MFA because I went right into the field with my BFA and I do not plan on teaching at a University.

    What also makes me qualified is that I know I do a good and solid job.I give constructive criticism from an artist's point of view, my reviews are not about getting into an institution or even a gallery. $25 dollars for a one time review, for those who WANT it, is a fair and reasonable price. My time is valuable as is yours. I give away more information and time than many working artists and if you have been reading my blog you would know that. I am not secretive about getting into galleries or my painting techniques and if I can help an artist succeed in any way I will try.

    If there are FREE services available in these artists' areas then of course I want them to take advantage of them. Some artists live in more rural areas that don't offer these services. And most of the galleries I talk to are overwhelmed with queries, and do not really have the time to give reviews to artists coming in their doors.

    By the way, I have only given about 4 or 5 reviews over the year I
    have been offering this service, and mostly to my artist friends from myspace/facebook who simply want feedback and they also want to
    support me, as they know of me and my work and trust me already. I am not getting rich reviewing people's work, or "exploiting" them or "their hopes and dreams." They want some more detailed feedback and they want to pay me for my time. End of story.

    If you see my paintings as "mere product" then that is how you feel.I can't do anything about that. I am a painter and I paint. I produce work that I share and sell. I promote my art, because this is my "actual" job, and I want to succeed at it. If the way I handle my art career offends you, then you don't need to read my blog.

  5. Of course everybody is entitled to their opinion, but this isn’t to be fair, a very constructive one, it is also contradictory in it’s 'construction' or point..
    bachelor’s degree.. this of course qualifies for nothing in the real world.. but are we not reading this blog for advice from somebody who is actually making a real living from art (or product, if that is how you see it..)
    product, well define product (or art) - of course when a price is put on something it becomes a product.. and we are again back to the point of reading a blog by a working artist..
    usually by other working artists (myself) who seek not ‘opions’ or ‘advice’ from a bachelor’s degree, or as you choose to contradict yourself in stating ‘trained professionals with MFA’s’
    but from ‘experience’ of a ‘working artist’
    which ever way you look at this, the stated $25 (which I may also add is a ‘suggested’ donation) is nothing for the time given, time equals money.
    I do work for a living to pay for everything that being alive costs including the materials to paint, or make a ‘product’
    The myth of the starving artist is a romantic notion, the reality is we have to sustain ourselves.
    This is an 'actual' job.

  6. Hmmm.... price tag on anything you do. I being a self teaching/taught, (well self directed artist is probably more like it) artist who has plans of making her living solely from art starting this summer, have found your blog Megan, and one or two others as a mentorship of sorts. I look forward to your blogs every Friday and am learning a lot through your experiences and reflections. This world is full of unhealthy, dysfunctional people who want to "help", so I am pretty grateful that Megan you share what you do and it costs me nothing. Yes Anonymous it costs me nothing maybe before casting stones you should read through her archives. Oh and Megan when I'm ready to put my portfolio together, I already decided a while ago that $25 will be well worth it.

  7. Hmmm... is right.

    One of the highlights of 2008 was discovering your blog Megan, thanks for your words.

  8. 2008 has been for me a year of transition, a year of making space, both literally and figuratively. I set out to finish all unfinished projects in my life and then to part with them, making room for the next manifestation of myself or what I want to be. Here at the end of the year the transition isn’t complete, in fact I’m more painfully aware of the sheer number of unfinished edges and incomplete tasks than I was earlier. However, the year’s been a success in that the biggest, most imposing and intransigent challenges are behind me. The remaining ones—numerous though they may be—are small in comparison.

    So at this moment on the verge of 2009, I’m slightly conflicted first by that multitude of small tasks—a multitude that wasn’t evident until I’d cleared the landscape of big boulders—but also by the fact that I haven’t quite pushed those big boulders over the cliff and completely out of my life…and what’s that all about? Do we become attached to our albatrosses?

    To be specific on a couple, this year I’ve finished restoring the set of Art Deco chandeliers removed from the University of Arkansas’ Old Student Union’s ballroom in an unfortunate remodeling during the 1970s. I was a beginning architecture student and didn’t want to see the set of 8—4 main and 4 corner chandeliers—simply scrapped. I bought them (for a song) and then proceeded to carry them around with me in life in pieces until the present. At the time of my youthful idealism, I didn’t have perspective on the burden these pieces of aluminum, bronze and glass might become. The biggest burden, of course, being the labor needed to renew the pieces and make them a whole again. To be clear, these things are huge—the chandeliers are 10’ tall and 5’ around, the corner lights are 7.5’ tall. Storage costs alone have been significant. I completed a restoration of them in 1983 and sent them to New York in 1986 on consignment. They returned to me in 1992 damaged and once again in need of restoration (which is another story altogether). They returned at a very busy stage of my life, so they’ve festered as an unresolved burden. Many would have cut their losses and scrapped them at this point but I felt committed to that youthful decision to save them. This year they have once again been restored and moved out of my house and multiple other storage locations. They are sitting in an antique store in Houston, being prepped for marketing.

    I’ve also finished restoring my 1971 Datsun 240Z this year—a car I’ve owned since purchasing it in 1976 and a car that many long-term friends fondly remember having adventures in. I’m on the verge of marketing it but haven’t quite pushed myself over the edge of putting it out there on the Internet.

    Besides these large tangibles, there have been many work hurdles and goals set and met. But the catalyst, instigator and driver for the tangibles have been my launching into building a house in 2008. Due to the economic slowdown and hurricane Ike, the builder’s been very slow to make progress, however…again another story.

    I want this house to be a fresh start, a stage for becoming the next manifestation of myself…and it will be, albeit it’s unresolved if that manifestation will resemble any current vision or desire I may hold for the next revision. The move will be a drastic change. The house is so different from my current house. Too, I’ll be living with my significant other for the first time in our 20 years together. The move is about a life vision of “Us” not just “Me”. This year is about the Me that I’ll be taking into Us and I want that Me to be without past encumbrances. I shouldn’t have said I’m building a house…We are building a house. 2008 has included designing the new house, monitoring contracts and construction, and preparing the current house for sale. Like so many aspects of my life, our neighborhood is in transition and the 1950s ranch houses are giving way to larger two-story homes. We have back-to-back lots and we tore down one house (recycling as much as we could) and are building behind our current house. So like all of 2008’s projects, the new house with all of its construction delays, is in our face every day. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m at peace with this past year being a year of projects. But I’m also a bit worn out. I want 2009 to be a year of resolutions.

    I’ve just woken early from a vivid dream. I don’t recall having this dream ever before. It ended with me on the edge of a stage ready to step out. Somehow I’d been selected into a male modeling event. At first it seemed like a lark, as when I modeled for a children’s clothing stores when I was around 5, or when I presented science fair entries in high school. But it took on a more competitive tone as preparations progressed, culminating in individual “runway” walks where it was the person being judged, not the clothes. I’m currently not at all male modeling material—this year of projects has taken its toll and time for exercise was prioritized off my plate. (Getting back into some semblance of “shape” is a project for next year, more for health than for vanity.) But in my dream I was putting myself out there for anonymous others to pass their superficial judgment.

    I awoke at the moment before stepping out on stage, still unresolved on who I wanted to be out there, on what I wanted to project of my assets. And that’s where the end of 2008 finds me. Past boulders are lining up ready to push over the cliff leaving me a clear and clean new landscape to walk out into. Time to give the nudge and to manicure the landscape’s remaining rocks and pebbles into a garden. It’s not a bad place to be.

    I admire you for putting yourself out there and for producing your art. Yes, for producing “products”. My area at NASA—Habitability and Human Factors—has become quite successful, with many particular accomplishments reaching fruition just in the past year. The credit goes to the great group of people in the Branch. As Chief, I’ll take pride in one factor—I’ve assembled a fantastic group of motivated, self-actualized people adept at establishing goals and at implementing needed behaviors to accomplish them. Every hiring and promotion decision I’ve made has been spot on. And every decision has been based solely on my evaluation of a person’s ability to accomplish things rather than on credentials. Fortunately, my superior’s felt the same way. I’m the “least educated” person in the Branch, with only a Bachelor in Architecture to my name. Most new hires hold advance degrees but not all. I’ll gladly choose someone with a history of building things in the “real world” over a PhD any day. And it’s panned out.

    Yes, I’d gladly pay $25 for your opinion. I very much like your work and what you must see in order to produce that body of products. Too, I very much appreciate your bravado in putting yourself out there…and for, on occasion, charging $25 for being out there!

    Much affection and best wishes for 2009, Amiga. I hope to see you face-to-face in 2009,


  9. In response to Megan:

    Well, I wouldn't know if I didn't want to read your blog until I read it...would I?

    Just because people are willing to pay for something does not mean it should be supplied to them. (Because people will buy anything) That is a dangerous justification in any light.

    To me, time is NOT money. My time is free, my advice is free. If you charge your friends for advice, are they really your "friends" then?
    I have never been charged for a critique of my work, I wouldn't pay for it, and I wouldn't charge someone else for mine, certainly not a "friend". It's about as basic as that.

    If you are about mere marketing and selling, of course this blog would be a great find. You do have some excellent ideas in that regard.
    But if you are about what art is, and MEANING and context, then this blog is a bust. Your main motivation,(from reading) seems to be all about selling. I have seen little evidence that your work actually means anything to YOU. I have failed to locate meaning in your work either by viewing it, reading your artist statement, or by reading the titles you have ascribed to your pieces. How and where do I get informed about this?
    You say where your work has been in the world, you speak about the making of your art, but where is the meaning? What does your work SAY? Can I find that somewhere in the archives as well?

    How can you honestly give advice to others when your art has nothing to say, other than its technique/process? (and of course, marketing?) How will you prescribe meaning (a critique) to anothers work? I'm sure you love to paint, who doesn't? It's a form of play, children do it all the time, they create, it's inherent. However, does you work go beyond that? Have you voiced that?
    Have you asked yourself that....why you create other than the need to create?

    This is my problem with charging for a critique. How do you, Megan Chapman, say something about anothers work, when I as a casual viewer, cannot find what your work even says?
    And I am of the opinion that just because you read something someone else read (referring to the MFA students you worked along side), does not make you an expert. I have read many psychology books, but it does not mean that I could, in good conscience, charge money for my marital advice.
    I assume you feel your conscience is 'clean' in this respect though. I am just thinking that there are people who go through extensive training in order to be able to "read" all kinds of art. That is their sole job. And they don't charge money for the service. Any way you slice it, you are not a trained professional in this specific area.

    I see not so much a discussion about art on here, as people giving you a pat on the back for your 'solid job.'
    If you do not appreciate dissenting opinions, you should perhaps block your blog instead of telling someone (paraphrased) "Well just don't read it then".
    Put a label up, maybe?

    To the others, if you all want to waste money just because there has been a difference of opinion about your 'mentor' then that is certainly your deal, but to say you'll do it out of spite because of MY opinion, is simply ridiculous. And proves no point, other than that you will buy anything this woman has deemed appropriate to sell....which seems to be everything. And that was my whole point. Open your eyes, there are others that will supply advice for free, and not even THINK about trying to charge for it.

    The almighty dollar...

    I will not be back, but thank you at least for the response and for not censoring me. I do admire that.

  10. Any real artist has battled this notion that we're to get paid for our office/education/whatever jobs and yet our art work, which is potentially (or at least in my case) the most valuable service we provide, is to be offered for free.

    I pay several hundred dollars a year to a number of consultants who help me find and nurture an audience for my work, and I wish I had more to give them. They help me get grants, studio space, and potentially theaters that may some day produce the work. This is what's been necessary to make the work. I still operate at a loss of about $5-10,000 a year to make my work, more in a year where I'm in production. And I hate to break it to Anonymous, but this advice has strengthened the work itself, not just the "marketing." If our work communicates an idea (with luck, one that cannot be summarized verbally in a blog), how we transmit that idea to the world becomes paramount.

    It seems to me that this blog addresses that disjunct--how we transmit. One can decide for herself what Chapman's work is "about" (though looking at any work in that context makes me want to gouge my eyes out) -- the struggle depicted here is how one creates work, lives with it, and shares it.

    I simply will not touch the idea that an MFA makes one more "qualified." Anyone with an actual MFA is chuckling quietly right now, while ruefully writing out that student loan check. Argh.

  11. Dear Anonymous,

    I appreciate your time and concerns, about my art and business affairs, as well as how my friends spend their money.

    Again only four or five people have asked me for my paid opinion. I give my opinions for free all the time. I give my help, guidance, support, or whatever I can do to encourage my fellow artists mostly for free.

    My blog subheading is "Ideas about making, marketing, selling and talking about art." Readers should have a pretty good idea of what my blog is about just from that. Many artists have the knowledge of the meaning, feeling etc. attached to their art, but they do not know how to sell or promote it. I created this blog to help them get their art/message out to the world by sharing things that had worked for me. If you find this blog to be focussed on the selling aspect, that is because it is. Artists, in order to keep making their art, have to support themselves. Some of us choose to support ourselves by selling our work, if I am dependent on my art to pay the bills then I am going to do what I need to do to make that happen.

    I never claimed to be an expert, not anywhere do I ever claim that. Nor do I claim to be trained in giving reviews. My readers know that, I know that. I am just an artist and these are my ideas about things. I share my feeling about working as an artist and my paintings. You jumped on the one topic of my giving portfolio reviews which is a very tiny part of this blog and my life as an artist.

    The meaning of any art is highly subjective and if you feel my paintings have no meaning then that is how you feel, I can't do anything about that. I know what my paintings mean, I know how important my titles are to me and my work. Mostly I know how important connecting to people is for me as an artist. I create relationships with people and my paintings and my blog facilitates this. If my readers/patrons/friends feel a connection to me or my work and they want to encourage me and support me in any way then I am grateful. I am not twisting anyone's arm.

    I actually do appreciate dissention and I wouldn't censor any one. I was simply saying that if I offend you then don't trouble yourself with me. I am not worth your time. You can read my blog, anyone can. I allow anonymous comments for a reason and I am glad you took advantage of it.

    I would not dream of prescribing "meaning" to anyones work, that is not what my reviews are about. You (Anonymous) have prescribed that my work is meaningless.How are you qualified to do that?

    Thanks for visiting, come back any time.

  12. Time is NOT money?
    I maybe missing the point here in a colossal way then..
    How is anybodies time not money, albeit, if we where
    all in a position to give away our art for free then that
    would be a beautiful thing..
    but, for me at least, selling my art is the base for me to
    buy materials and continue..

    I understand the point of price & friends, and as I have
    not spent or donated any money whatsoever to Megan
    I have received comment replies, emails and even letters
    through the post.

    For those who can afford to donate money to a fellow artist,
    well, I don’t see the issue..
    Didn’t Frédéric Bazille support his friend Monet by buying a
    painting from him & thus enable him to continue his career in
    art (as well as supporting his infant)
    We are talking support from people who are in a position to provide
    support, not the exploitation of fellow artists.

    The specific point of this actual blog is the selling and promotion and the gallery representation, so if that is how is comes across, then that is the aim, we are all artists here, painting and reading each others blogs, from the artists who manage to get exhibitions and representation
    that knowledge and experience is passed on.

    Meaning, well, maybe that hasn’t been a major subject that has been
    addressed here, maybe because it is a pre-requisite from people who are already familiar with Megan’s work.

    I have had many many lengthy discussions about the meanings in Megan’s work as in the meaning of my own, just because it hasn’t been ‘addressed’ here doesn’t make it any the less significant.

    This is one of many ‘blogs’, ‘myspace’ & websites that Megan writes and
    cannot be wholly representational of all aspects of what it is Megan’s work is about.

    It is however the gallery representation and promotional side that this
    particular blog addresses.

    When we decide to write these ‘blogs’ we open ourselves to opinions
    which I have stated before everybody is entitled to, and as Megan states
    she does not censor.

    Don’t then make you opinion heard to finish with the comment
    “I will not be back..”
    Why not? your point and opinions have been read and answered.

  13. I honestly see no problem with charging a nominal fee for a portfolio review -- especially when honest reviews are so hard to come by in our area.

    An offer of "free reviews" could quickly become a full-time charity job if one wasn't careful. Furthermore, just how easy is it to shrug off the negatives of a free critique, anyway?

    And quite honestly, paying Megan for a critque puts _her_ on the spot, for it ups the expectations of the person whose work is being reviewed. That's not to say that she might be slack with a free review, mind you, just that it puts the burden of "worth" on her.

    I'm not a regular blog reader, just someone tossing in his two cents, but there they are ;)

  14. Just to change back to Megan's original question (How was your 2008 and what do you have planned for 2009 ?)

    I've had a moderately satisfying year. I haven't created a lot of paintings but have been happy with what i've achieved with my surf board designs and its been especially encouraging to discover via blogosphere that there are quite a few eccentric underground surf designers/shapers and often in the most unlikely places in the world.
    Its only in the last couple of days that i've really got back into painting in a satisfying way - now almost a week since knocking off from my job I've relaxed and found the energy, clarity of mind and routine that suits me. While everyone else has gone off on crowded roads to crowded holiday spots i'm enjoying an unusually quite Christchurch and making the most of the beach where i live. A beach walk, skinnydip and surf in the early morning, out for a drive to somewhere interesting for late morning/early afternoon then home to paint through into late evening.

    Through a round-about manner i've come to a new subject that has grabbed my imagination - kowaro or Canterbury mudfish (Neochanna burrowsius). They are a highly endangered species native to the area where i live. When i sketched one from some photos i found the mudfish such an adorable character almost like a character out of a childrens storybook and offering so many possibilities. It is a real change for me as most of my paintings have always been waves or naked women or combinations of the two, i'm really excited about exploring where i can go with my mudfish.

    I've also decided on a couple of photographic projects to embark upon over the next nine months. Then its my exhibition October - December of my photographs, paintings and surf designs.

    i have made the commitment to a busy creative year.

  15. Dear Everyone-

    Thank you for your support, readership, opinions, comments, friendship and trust. Thank you truly. I have really enjoyed writing this blog over the years. I hope to remain faithful to it in the new year as well.

    This has been an interesting week to say the least, thank you all for being a part of it.

    Best wishes and much love in the new year.

    I want to close with the last paragraph of my blog post as I fear it may have been lost or forgotten in the shuffle...

    "I wish you the freedom to know your talents and strengths and to be more kind to yourself this year than you were last year. We are all going to get rejected, have slow months, question our work, question ourselves, but just know we are in this together. In the new year when you are painting and it is clicking, when you suddenly feel free and like everything is possible; hold on to that moment. They come and go so fast but those moments are why we do this work. Those flashes keep calling us back to this madness, this amazing life as an artist.

    May 2009 be filled with these flashes for us all..."

  16. Time IS money.

    Anyone who disagrees with that has either too much time or too much money on their hands.

  17. Hey Megan!

    I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog, dearly, and that I truly look forward to reading it every week :)

    Another year has come, and gone, and I am so glad that you continue to write here once a week.

    Thanks for all of the inspiring and helpful advice over the last year.

    As far as what I have planned for the coming year, well, I think you already know!

    Happy New Year to you, I hope it's happy and healthy.

  18. Wow - I missed all this while on my internet vacation!!! REALLY hot comments - and an interesting read.
    At first I felt compelled to write in response to anonymous' comments, but to be honest I can't be bothered - it'd be a waste of breath.

    So, I'll talk about what 2008 has done for me instead :)))

    At the start of 2008 I was an experimenting artist on a very steep learning curve, and with ambition. At the end of 2008 I am a more focussed artist, still on a learning curve (I hope that continues) and still with ambition. But now I have the fantastic opportunity of an forthcoming exhibition, a visual voice that is developing, and a satisfaction that at last I am paying attention to my true callings. I am a creative person, and this year I have nurtured it and valued it more than ever. Megan, you lovely person, have encouraged, reviewed (worth every cent) and watched (even kind of mentored) me progress at a very fast rate. I am honoured to know you and I am eternally grateful for your time, sharing of excellent work ethic, and friendship over 2008.

    Awesome that we all have something to celebrate!!!

    Best wishes for 2009

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