Friday, August 31, 2012

The absence of words

It's Friday again! The weeks just keep spinning past faster and faster. I can't believe it is almost September already! Today as I write the windows are open and it is a grey rainy day and the music of Joy Division fills the air around me. This is writing, making and thinking weather! My favorite!

Let's see what's happened this week. Well as you know, last week I cleaned my studio after Stewart and I worked in it this summer completing our "a place called home" series. This week, I spent time getting to know the space again and sorting through all my tools and paints, trying to enjoy the space. I also painted in the space, working on the eighteen 6x6" mdf boards on two or three occasions since the clean up. These small works consist of gesso, white acrylic, torn vintage paper, graphite, color pencil, walnut oil and charcoal powder. They are not unlike the 12x12" pieces from my "Sometimes I love you and other stories" series in their basic composition and palette but there is something missing. The typed words on the vintage paper are not there.

I wanted to get away from the words and back towards allowing only the paintings to convey the message and somehow the absence of words seems to do just that. You can feel an eerie silence in these works. You want them to say more but they don't. They aren't talking back this time, it is all up to the viewer to tell the story and squeeze the meaning out of the dusty charcoal, the white paint and the void left behind on the paper.

Where are my words? Well for one thing, I am a painter by trade and not a writer. I love words but I can't use them all the time. Also, this has been a lonely time for me as my community has gotten smaller and Stewart is no longer here and I am no longer there. There is a void, so it seems the work would reflect this and it does. The lines are still there as the basic connection is still there. Communication from these works continues through the texture in skips and sputters of paint rather than type.

I have a lot more work to do on these new small works before I put them in my etsy shop, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. After that, I will start on the fifteen 12x12" panels with the vintage maps as I explore another concept that has been rolling about in my mind. Where it will go...

Until next week, keep fighting!

Friday, August 24, 2012

To remember again...

Dear Readers,
This week I was challenged to get back up (for real) in my studio. This has been a struggle for me for a multitude of reasons that I don't really need to get into or rehash. I spent time cleaning it a bit this week and taking pictures of it to remind me how lucky I am to have a space to work in and to remind me of how many paintings I have created in this space. As I was struggling to write the words for this entry I had an idea! Five years ago I wrote a love letter to my attic studio and I thought it would be valuable for me to read it again so that I can remember how I used to feel about the space. So, this week I am re-posting that entry with new photographs of my studio. I am looking forward to making it just so and getting to work! See you next week! Until then enjoy going back in time with me.

July 6, 2007
I am busy in the studio preparing for my upcoming summer and fall exhibitions, and I thought that it might be a good time for a virtual studio visit. I always enjoy my studio when it is littered with new paintings in various states of completion. The smell of fresh paint, walnut oil, and charcoal permeates the room.It is full of new energy and potential. It is always an exciting time to be in this space.

My studio is in the attic, and runs the length of my house. It has a window on the east side and a window on the west. It has sloped walls, and hard wood floors. The stairs are steep and painted blue. My studio walls are pale blue and yellow and were painted with "oops" paint from Lowe's. I have a painting area in the east side of my studio that has two easels, and a paint table and my supply bin. I use two light stands with sunlight bulbs to illuminate my work area.

As I work, I prop up paintings in a corridor that is made up of a low shelf on one side of the room, and the stair railing on the other, this is where my paintings wait at attention, to see if they make the cut or need reworking. On the west side of my studio, I have an office area with a file cabinet, and flat file as well as other necessary tools for business. This is where I write thank you notes, keep track of inventory and plan for my future shows.

My studio is a simple space and I use every bit of it. It is free of clutter and contains art books, art magazines, inspirational pictures and quotes. I try to keep my "regular" life out of it as much as possible so that when I enter the space I can dive into the world of my art and get to work.

And for now this studio is just what I need, it is always patiently waiting and ready for me. I don't have to drive across town to get to it. I don't have to struggle to pay the rent on the space, or worry about loud studio mates, or if my music is bothering them. I can wear old funky clothes covered in paint and be completely free while working and I don't have to worry about anyone dropping in on me. There are many positives of having a home studio, and this is the nicest studio I have had since being in school.

Do I still dream of having a studio outside of my home? Oh yes! The "dream" studio, perhaps an old building, with large windows, exposed brick, and a nutty landlord that lets me pay in paintings and sweat equity. One day in the near future, I would love to be able to work outside my home, get up early, put on my work clothes, and head to the studio. I would love to have people stop by my space, look at my new work, and leave some feedback every now and then.

I have had studios in a tiny apartment basement, an abandoned floor of a rental house (I lived in the apartment above the abandoned part) tiny back porch rooms (it did have the only sink, I have ever had) and now in the attic of the house I grew up in.

My current studio is the room that my two older brothers slept in while growing up, and while it was their room, I once had a field day scribbling all over the walls (and their stuff) in orange marker as a young child. Perhaps this space has always inspired me...

Friday, August 17, 2012

As the weather cools (I come alive)

This week I had hoped to get back to my regular studio practice but this was not exactly the case, I got closer to it and that is what counts. I did work a little in my studio and I also amassed supplies so I could start working on the bigger series that keeps showing up in my mind. This is a slow rebuilding process but it is building nonetheless.

dark art in progress on mdf panel with a side of aubergines

I gessoed 20 6x6' MDF panels to begin a small series for my Esty shop. Once gessoed, I covered all or part of them with powdered graphite mixed with walnut oil. It felt good to just be making broad messy strokes of gesso over the wood squares and I liked covering over the white with the darkness. I am not sure what will become of these, if I will embed paper into these works or if color pencil will serve to brighten the darkness. They have landscape elements but truly I have worked on too few of them to figure out what they are yet. I am looking forward to resuming work on them and documenting and putting them in my shop.

vintage maps waiting to work

In the meantime, I received the vintage maps that I ordered for my next series of 12x12 panel paintings that I am gearing up to do. I also received the fifteen new panels from Perrodin Supply Co. I am so excited to be using their panels again! I also ordered some Gesso and other supplies I need for the project. So that is what this week has been about, getting all the materials together again, flirting with making and doing a lot of talking and thinking.

Also as a side project, I have been dreaming of doing a large paper piece that is affixed to the ceiling and is allowed to hang down and away from the wall draping down into a pool on the floor. I have been seeing this work ever since I went out to dinner one night with Stewart in Edinburgh. We were talking about our upcoming (at the time) series "A place called home" and I kept seeing this paper piece thinking it was for that show but it was actually meant for my show (a show I don't even have scheduled yet.) Yesterday, I mentioned on facebook that I was looking for large lengths of paper and today a large vintage roll of paper was delivered to my door by artist Linda Sheets! It is beautiful, yellowed, thick with the quality of maps. It is ideal. I can't wait to start working on it. I have been wanting to work on a large physical piece for quite a while, especially after making fairly small works for the last year or so. I am looking for a challenge and I need space for this work. I see paintings, drawings, maps, diagrams, an internal compass on paper. I have been thinking a lot about this idea of an internal map or gesture of the self. I have always been fascinated about what happens on the inside of people, what we hold on the inside of our skins. The thoughts, emotions, the beautiful and the ugly, deep inside - hiding. I am looking forward to seeing if I can turn this into something that isn't just juvenile, self absorbed or angst riddled... but I can't really allow myself to care too much about that. I am approaching this as a piece for me, art for art's sake, an experiment that may never see the light of day or could be a companion piece for the smaller works, not unlike a manual living was for the falling into sound works. I want to get excited about the work again and this project seems to fit the bill. We will see what happens. I don't even really have the appropriate space to work on this but I know I will make it work.

the knowledge seal,  a return to yoga

In other news, this week was spent in the company of good friends and fellow artists. It was spent walking and doing yoga and trying to take extra good care of myself. It is time to look inward and take care the way only I can, if I am to do the work I want to do. I am looking forward to exploring my new etsy series, my new 12x12 series and the paper piece of my visions with you all soon.

Thanks for checking in. I hope all is well in your art world.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Begin again...

The unknown variable
Mixed media on panel 12x12"
© 2012 Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner

Well, let's see what happened this week. Mostly I tried to stay busy and I did a pretty good job of that for a while. I recovered my dining room chairs and I organized many drawers throughout the house...

The reception for my exhibition Hush happened last Saturday at the Fayetteville Public Library. There was a nice little group of people in attendance, I appreciate the folks who made it out. There has been a lot of art this summer, it seems to come in waves. Sometimes I fear my work has been overexposed in the region but when an opportunity comes my way, I generally say yes! Even while the reception was small in attendance it was large in sales, patrons and friends. I sold another collaborative piece and I sold two paper pieces that I created in Scotland, one framed and one unframed. I was quite pleased with these sales and I am thankful to the Fayetteville Public library for the opportunity to have an exhibition in the reading room. I just love how my work looks in the space, it really just fits right in. Hush will be up until September 4th. So if you are local to the area, I do hope you will get a chance to see my work.

After the reception, my friends came over and we had a little party. It was a fun time, I am so lucky to have such lovely, talented, and supportive people in my life.

The rest of the week just kind of happened, with more cleaning and organizing. I started putting my studio back in order after Stewart Bremner and my marathon painting session for "A place called home." It felt good to touch all of my things and take stock of my inventory. I also ordered fifteen more panels from Perrodin Supply Co. and ordered some vintage maps of America and Scotland for my upcoming series. I am excited to be thinking of my next series. I think I may also start another small works series for my Etsy shop soon as well. I will of course keep you posted. Later in the week I also sold one of my older paintings from my 2008 series "evidence of the disappearance" I now only have two of those older color series works left. It is hard to believe.

By next week, I hope to have everything in order and return to my regular studio practice so rather than me writing here so much about promotions and exhibitions, I hope to return to talking about the creative process and sharing works in progress and what is happening in the studio. This time last year I was working on feverishly finishing up Sometimes I love you and other stories for my exhibition in September. It is hard to believe that it has almost been a year. Time marches on, faster and faster. I am really looking forward to diving back in the world of making and doing.

Thanks for checking in with me this week and as always thank you for your support of me and my work. I can't do this without you.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Well, here we are another Friday already! This has been a long and short week as many of you know Stewart Bremner left on Tuesday morning to go back to Scotland, but what you might not know is that it took him forty-five hours to get there! So even though I took him to the airport Tuesday he didn't get home until Thursday at 11am his time. I was vicariously nervous and stressed until he got to his destination which made time do strange things and here we are and it is Friday. But I still have some news...

If you are local to the Northwest Arkansas area on Saturday August 4th (tomorrow, as I write this) I hope you will join me in the Walker Community Room of the Fayetteville Public Library from 3-5 for the reception for my exhibition Hush. Not only will my work be on display upstairs in the Reading Room but just for the reception, I will also have the nine remaining works of Stewart Bremner and my latest series, A place called home. I will also have some of my remaining smalls works that I created in Scotland for sale only during the reception as well.
I have really enjoyed having my work in the library, the exhibition looks great and I can't wait for you all to see it with fresh eyes in a new space.  The exhibition will be up through September 4th.

In other news, plans are already underway for the next east prospect exhibition... oh yes, it is never too early to plan... Don't worry I will keep you updated.

Thanks for checking in and for reading. Sorry I don't have that much for you this week, hopefully by next week I will be finding my rhythm in this new reality and have lots to tell you.

Until next week, keep fighting. The world needs your art.