Saturday, July 7, 2012

Make a list: six months in review

Oh July... you are already here?

It was just January, yesterday. I was just getting ready for my trip, for my adventure in Edinburgh. Where has the time gone? The first six months of the year seemed to vanish in a blink and it is so easy to forget what was accomplished and experienced. I need to remember for myself. I need to inspire myself for the next half of the year. We have six more months to really make this year shine bright and make things happen.

So, bear with me as I have a personal and professional recap.

The first four months of the year were spent in Scotland. That is still a huge thing for me and still something that doesn't seem quite real. I look forward to getting nostalgic about it one day soon, I simply haven't had the time to look back lately. The first four months of the year were spent soaking up another culture, a ton of art, people, being with Stewart in his flat and seeing him work on his amazing body of work, Worlds Apart, and getting to spend time and meet his family, and of course making art! Another highlight was meeting all my artist friends in Scotland and England and just solidifying the bonds and making my global art community more human and real. It was an amazing four months. I documented it all through art, words, and photographs.

During that time in Edinburgh, I had four canvas pieces from my series Sometimes I love you and other stories on display as part of the Winter Wonderland group exhibition at Union Gallery. It was a wonderful thing to be able to see my work on the wall in such a lovely gallery so far from home. Also in January but back home in Arkansas, the second month of my solo exhibition, A Certain Trajectory continued at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs. Also happening in Arkansas was Stewart Bremner's and my combined exhibition I thought I would find you here at the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville in March and April.

Besides touristy stuff I also created forty-four new small works while I was in Scotland which became my From Across the Ocean series that was then on exhibition in March at Embo in Edinburgh. My first solo international exhibition the same week as I turned forty. Not a bad way to celebrate.

Stewart and I returned to Fayetteville Arkansas in the beginning of May and hit the ground running. Besides reconnecting with many of our friends and my family here, we participated in the Block St. Block party and had such a cute little art booth. I loved the cardboard letters that spelled out our names that Stewart meticulously cut. After Block street I put my attic studio back together after moving move it from the old underground right before I left town in January. I was pretty pleased with how my studio came together and rejoiced at having windows and even a tiny patch of view! I got busy and ordered supplies for, a place called home. As soon as I had our panels by Perrodin Supply Co. we started to work on our new series. During this same time and with Stewart's help, I finally launched A Manual for Living as a set of limited edition prints to sell in my etsy shop.

Stewart Bremner, Jennifer Libby Fay and I also organized the eastprospect exhibition and put on a wonderful international exhibition of ten artists for two days only. It was a great event and something for all the artists that participated in to feel proud of. After this Stewart and I had to regain focus on our own personal work and really get serious about A place called home. We created fifteen all new paintings that we are extremely proud of.

Besides all this I have applied for grants, additional gallery representation, been published in art/literary journals and revamped my etsy shop and have an exhibition scheduled at the Fayetteville Public Library later in July.

I want to be very clear for myself here: Since the new year I have been in or have scheduled: five solo or featured exhibitions and have been in three group shows. I have made forty-four new small works and have created fifteen new collaborative paintings with Stewart Bremner. In the first six months of the year I have sold thirty-three pieces of original art (albeit mostly small works on paper) and fourteen prints.

Times have been hard financially and my sales are down considerably from the past two years due to gallery/studio closures, but when I look at this I can clearly see that I am working hard and that I am producing the work I need to produce and in this economy it just takes a little more careful planning and creative thinking to make it all come together. I am lucky to be an artist, to have the studio I do and to have the support network and patrons that I do. I am grateful. The first six months of 2012 has been a challenging, thrilling, exhausting, productive and comfort zone stretching time but no matter what, I wouldn't trade it in for anything. Thanks for being a part of it. You are instrumental to my progress on the path. Thanks and love to all my friends, family, patrons and supporters and especially to Stewart for helping me along the way.

Dear Artists... now please go make your own lists. What have you been up to? Leave no stone unturned, count it up, validate yourself in the process and share and inspire us all. You have had a better year than you think! Feel free to share your first six month lists in the comments or post a blog link about it. Until next week keep fighting...

And locals... Join us!
A place called home
New paintings by Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Tuesday June 10th from 6-8pm
Arts Center of the Ozarks
Springdale, Arkansas

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