Saturday, November 30, 2013

The hills are alive with the sound of makers...


Thanks for joining me again this week. I was really moved by some of the personal responses I got from last week's blog. I appreciate those who took the time to write to me off site and told me of their stories, old and new. I wish you all luck in your future dreams and goals. I have faith in you, now onwards!

Back to the matters at hand, as we all know the festive season is upon us. I can practically hear the sounds of all the makers around the world furiously at work getting prepared for their lovely art and crafts to end up on your holiday shopping lists! I am no exception. I have been hard at work creating new paintings and ordering more archival prints in order to get my Etsy shop stocked.

I enjoy this time of year. I think of myself as connected to all the other makers as we put our heads down and create some special and unique items for you and yours. I'll say it plainly, your support of the arts is what keeps the arts vital and strong in your communities. Makers live a precarious balance most of the time and we have accepted this feast or famine lifestyle. The holiday months are a way for us to catch up for the slow times and get our books back in the black. The dollars you spend when you support makers and small independent businesses mostly stay within your community and have a huge impact on the lives of those doing the making. Sometimes just one small sale can pay a utility bill, buy supplies, food and shelter. When a maker has those things then they can keep making. It is that simple. If you love living in communities that celebrate and support the arts then you have to vote with your dollars and support those that make your community a vibrant and exciting one.

I am not just asking you to buy my work, I am asking you to buy hers, his and theirs too. Visit Etsy, visit the local craft fairs, makers markets, holiday bazaars and independent shops and galleries. Shop local, shop regional, shop nationally and shop the independent makers from all over the world but know that you are buying something created by someone with a name, a face, a dream. You are buying from someone who dances every time they make a sale. Be that person's hero so that they will keep on the path, live the life of their dreams and continue to shine their own special brand of light and vision onto the world and into your community.

Let's all have a joyous season of handmade.



Friday, November 22, 2013

Change your story, change your life...

Hello! Thanks for joining me this lovely grey autumnal Friday.

This week has been one of organization and getting things done slowly but surely. I pretty much have my house in order after being away for eight months and that is a very good thing. A sense of normalcy is returning.

I also have been going through my household budget and expenses with a fine toothed comb and trying to make it so I won't wind up in a call centre again this winter. I am calling it "operation dollar from a dime" and so far it is going pretty well. I have reduced my expenses for my mobile phone, my Internet, car insurance, lowered my interest rate on my credit card for the next 6 months and levelized both my gas and electricity bills so I can know what to expect. I am still trying to figure out my health insurance (such a luxury for a self employed worker). I am hoping that thanks to Obamacare it will be even less than what I am paying now, so that would be another welcomed reduction. This week, I also remembered what bargains and good quality foods can be found at ALDI as well, if only they sold tofu and vegan cheeze I wouldn't have to shop anywhere else!

I know this is an art blog and that is what you come here for but as an artist on a budget and someone who is "living the dream," I think it is important to tell the truth about the process and share what is working and what is not.

In more properly art related news, I did manage to get my art supplies out and around and have got my home studio up and running again. It was a good feeling to see all my pencils, pieces of charcoal and tubes of paint, especially after working with such a spare studio set up in Edinburgh and Atlanta.

This week I started seven new small works for the holiday season (there will be more...). It was lovely to see my old atlas again and to pull out some maps from Scotland as well. I got my hello kitty sewing machine out again and it's threaded and ready to roll. I ordered some supplies from this week and popped by one of my local art supply stores as well for some paint (trying to shop local as much as I can).

On a side note, I did a little exercise earlier today. I call it "gathering the evidence" and this concept has popped up here and there in my blog in the past. Sometimes we get ideas about ourselves or we cling to stories we have told ourselves and others over and over again. Sometimes these stories are no longer true and we just need to let go and get a new script. I found myself in that situation and the story I was clinging to was making me very unhappy. It was obviously time to gather the evidence and prove myself wrong about these mistaken beliefs I was holding on to. I gathered a long list that backed up a new healthier story, read it to myself once and sent it to a trusted friend. It was quite affirming.

To quote Socrates, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I agree and how we use the evidence of our examination can be quite life changing.

This week I will leave you with a couple of things to think about. Are you struggling financially as an artist or longing to quit your day job or trying not pick up a second job to stay afloat? What are you doing to cut your expenses and save money so you can live the dream and thrive?

What stories are you telling yourself over and over again that no longer serve you and only make life harder than it needs to be? You might be able to change your story and change your life...

And that is all I have for you this week. Until next week, keep fighting.

The world needs your art.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

At my fingertips...

two peas in a pod

Hello and greetings from Arkansas, the land of my birth!

First, I must start off this post with a huge thank you to my dear friend and fellow artist Craig Colorusso for letting me hitch a ride on the way back home from his southern leg of a Sun Boxes/Cubemusic tour. Artists helping artists is what it is all about and I am thankful to have such a friend. Please check out his work if you don't already know it and like his pages on facebook to follow his extraordinary work.

We left Atlanta on Monday evening around 5pm and made good time crossing the borders of 5 states to arrive in Arkansas in the early hours of Tuesday.

Once inside my house and greeted by a wee bird in my kitchen (I am back in Arkansas y'all!) I attempted to sleep. It was wild to wake up here and to have things! To have actual possessions that can't all fit in one bag!?! It really was like Christmas. It was great to come back to my art collection and my old desk and typewriter. I quickly got my autoharp out and it made friends easily and looked at home immediately. 

The things I have around me are old and battered yet lovely and give definite clues to what I value and what is important to me. From my eight months away I know now that I don't need them and I can live without them and I will gladly, however it is wondrous to feel the sense of place I have created over the years by the things I have collected. Many of my most favorite things can now fit in a tea cup or two and I aim to keep it that way.

So far this week I have just been getting my house sorted and settled. It's like those films where fancy people drape sheets over their summer home furniture and arrive each year for a holiday that begins with the pulling off of the dust covered fabric and the sweeping away of cobwebs. Except I am not fancy and someone has been living in my house.

I have visited my parents out in the country and I have gone to an estate sale, other than that I have stayed in getting reacquainted with my home and what it means to live here again. My hands have that old familiar tingle and I am itching to make some small works for the holiday season soon.

I have so many stories to tell. Are you ready to listen?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mysterious and very messy

Hello Dear Readers,

This will be my final post from Atlanta as by this time next week I will have returned to Arkansas. It is hard to believe that I have now been away from my home and my little community in Arkansas for 8 months. What an adventure this has been. I am again so grateful for everyone who helped me get to Scotland. I am equally grateful to my Scottish friends who made me feel welcomed and supported while I was there.

I am also thankful for this time in Atlanta. It has been wonderful to have this contemplative visit and to have some of my basic needs also provided for me by my brother Ben. This visit has also allowed me to get to know my nieces and oldest brother even better and in a different way. I am grateful for my family.

Everything is a journey and process. Life is mysterious and very messy. The years that have been filled with bravery and adventure can be the same years that are filled with poverty and loss. Creativity can flourish while social circles dwindle and during the worst depression the biggest recovery can also occur. Just when one thinks everything is falling apart something miraculous might also happen. This artist's life is a roller coaster, a feast and famine, at once celebrated by patrons and peers or left lost and alone. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Until next week, give it all you've got.

Friday, November 1, 2013

We remained strong...

"I paint pictures to remember, you're too beautiful to put into words..." 
- Polly Jean Harvey. 

This week was pretty forgettable. That is a bleak thing to write. The truth is I am struggling but "this too shall pass" as one wise sage or two or five thousand has been known to say. It unpopular to admit the struggle, no one wants to hear it. I don't want to hand anyone my black cloud. We are all struggling and we are all just in our struggles. Mine is no more important than yours and no less valid. 

I was imagining a private safe place where artists and culture workers could talk about all of this. A no bullshit zone if you will, away from facebook, away from the positive promotion 24/7, away from the "I'm okay you're okay" rah rah of the internet. Not a place to just be bleak and depressive but to be honest, real, not alone and find solutions to common problems. A place where we are understood for what we are, for how hard we work, for what we sacrifice and for the darkness and beauty we harness.

I have so many ideas just bursting to come out, I hope I don't forget them. I hope I don't ever stop. 

I hope you keep fighting too. 



Action steps: 
Like my facebook page. Here!
Follow me on twitter. Here!
Visit my Etsy shop. Lower prices, new prints. Here!
Visit my newly redesigned website. Here!

If you have done all of that. You are on my team and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would also be very grateful if you wouldn't mind sharing some of those links. If you enjoy my work, please tell your friends and peers.

Lastly if you are in Little Rock Arkansas, or are planning a trip there soon. Don't miss these opportunities to see my work in the flesh in beautiful gallery settings.

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
401 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72201

This exhibition offers viewers an opportunity to see contemporary, abstract works of art by Arkansas based artists. Artists in the exhibition are: Dustyn Bork, Megan Chapman, Donnie Copeland, Don Lee, Jill Storthz and Steven Wise.

Butler Center Atrium Gallery
September 13 - November 23, 2013


My work is represented by the wonderful Boswell Mourot Fine Art.

Boswell Mourot Fine Art
5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.
Little Rock, AR 72207

Boswell Mourot is a fine art gallery featuring well-known and emerging artists from the international, national and local art scene. The gallery has a selection of my works as well as the combined works of myself and Stewart Bremner.