Friday, January 26, 2018

Go big or go home

How many times have I tried to make myself small? How many times have I tried to fit in? How many times have I tried to be agreeable? How many times did I try not to rock the boat? How many times did I not play my hand? How many times did I stifle myself out of fear?

Too many times, enough of that. Today's motto is "go big or go home."

Paint big, dream big, live big, and take up space. Take up space and make it beautiful. Take up space and make it bolder. Take up space with pure nothingness. Take up space with the edge of a charcoal smudge. Let the white envelope you and the blackness tell the secrets locked in your heart.

Let the paintings pour right on out. What is enough? You are. Your work is. That black brush stroke, that swath of white, it's enough.

Until next week, keep fighting.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Back to work : for the tooth and the ease

I was happily back in the studio on Tuesday and I decided to work on paper. I am always drawn to paper for the tooth and the ease. There is something approachable about paper, it's not too precious yet it's surface offers many rewards. I set myself some modest goals, mostly just to return to my space regularly and to my routine. This wasn't about pressure or stress. Thanks to my low-key intentions, work dripped from my fingers each day. I sold the first piece to a new collector in America the day I painted it. What a joy! The sale helped to spur me on and filled me with hope for the new year. Thank you, lovely patron!

After completing three of these larger works, I sadly realized I was now out of the paper I was enjoying (must get more this weekend). However, necessity is the mother of invention (of course). After a bit of a studio rummage, I realized I had a lovely stack of small brown paper sacks in the cupboard and with that, The Sack Studies were born! I really enjoyed painting on the brown paper as it complimented my current minimal palette. I also like the jagged edges at the opening of the sacks. The words Tell Me Why Not came to mind and I decided to go for it. These are some of my favorite paper pieces to date. Below you can see all six and a few of my favorites up close.


The work feels good and I am having fun just going with the flow. I am feeling productive as I expand my work. I am also trying to be a bit more intentional and organized, taking note of what I am doing here and there and sharing my progress along the way. As I expand my work I also hope to expand my art community. My goal is to comment and share more of my fellow artist's work and have more meaningful interactions. If you are looking for community, you are welcome in the one I am building or perhaps I can join yours. Artists have to stick together and encourage one another, now more than ever. Until next week, know that you are not alone and the world needs your art. Please keep fighting and bringing your unique voice and eye to the table. Every day we paint is a victory. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

From two worlds

I am now sitting on our sofa in our flat in Leith. We got back home yesterday. We left Arkansas Wednesday morning and it still seems like Wednesday to me somehow. I remember walking out into the mist out back at my parent's house, looking for their dog Milo and finding him with a salvaged deer leg. He was so proud of his treasure as the misty air enveloped me. I breathed in deeply knowing I would be saying goodbye to my parents within the hour and that I would be in the caged air for the rest of the day and night.

I drove the old highway 71 one more time and then the back roads to the airport sadly, nervously, chatting away. Once we were at the airport, it was game on. All I was required to do was to go with the flow, follow the rules and move through the lines and sky to our destination. There is something comforting about the system. Periodically a few tears escaped simply from the thought of going so far away again and from sheer exhaustion.

It was good to arrive yesterday morning in Edinburgh Airport and grab the Chai latte that has become my favourite and to get on the tram, the bus, and finally to the flat and to bed for a nap, and then later to the local pub. It was good to see familiar faces and remember the familiar ways of doing.

It really is like time travel. These two worlds are always going on, I could still be walking through the mist on the hill in Winslow right now. Part of me surely is and of course, part of me has a lot of plans this year here in the now of Edinburgh. What will this new year bring? I have a few ideas...

For right now though, jet lag still rides beside me and I am amazed I have stayed up past 10 pm as I write this. Before I left Winslow, I did film the Studio Video Visit and it seemed to touch a nerve with folks. Thanks for all the kind comments and shares and private messages. I am glad to know so many folks that care and understand. If you missed it over on my Facebook art page, you can see it again here.

Until next week (and yes, there will be painting again!) - keep fighting, love your people, and dream big. I will if you will!

Friday, January 5, 2018

My city was gone

I am in the library listening to the Brambles' album Charcoal, trying to find a bit of peace again. The sun is out and things are warming up. I have had a lovely early morning goodbye chat with Barbara, a coffee chat with my friend Sarah, and another dear Sarah is on her way for lunch. Later, there will be more driving, this time up to Springdale to see another sweet friend but for now, I am here in the library with my headphones on trying to put some order into my day and words to my thoughts of this curious town.

Oh Fayetteville, you are a heartbreaker. I shed a tear or four for you this morning over a massive artisanal chai latte. It's always been hard to criticize you and your strange ways but it can be done among the ones that carry your embers.

I am still a guest in your sprawling, glass-faced condo so I will mind my manners. I will always love and work for you and I will always represent you. It is the heart of your streets that raised me and I am grateful.

I will speak for the broken beer bottles on the railroad tracks that made a romantic and slightly dangerous route through town, I will speak for the old art deco bridges (kudos on the refurb), I will speak for the overgrown vines that wrap around power poles in the summer, I will speak for the fullness of the chorus of the bugs and birds. I will speak for the abandoned graves almost lost in the tall grasses back in the woods.

The alleys and small streets cross my heart and memories, like the pie at the old Red Bird Cafe, after summer art classes at the guild with my mother. I will speak for the punk scene of the mid to late 1980's to the very early 90's and all the brilliant and important music I was able to see in this little town. In this town, I was surrounded by creative and passionate people, many who never lived to see this current version of Fayetteville.

I don't live in the past and I am not out of touch. I understand that things change and that they often should.

Many of my old houses are gone, as are many of my old friends - the working class also appears gone or hidden. Gentrification takes hold as old homes are demolished, green spaces are cleared and newbuilds proliferate. The University now grows like wild kudzu in a ditch.

I speak for the blue sky, the sunset, and the old leaning tree on the sledding side of Wilson Park and of course the wee castle there. I speak for the old view out west from the cross at Mt. Sequoyah and the legend of ghost hollow.

I do have hope for the artists creating new and exciting works and for the old school folks that have stayed behind so that they can preserve some parts of the heart of the town. It's not your job, but I know the ones who work tirelessly for the good and I am thankful for you.

As I drove away from town tonight, I cried. I cried for every student apartment dwelling that obscured the view of the hills or the sunset. It seemed as if a new fortress rose up at every turn like a barricade.

Tears burned down my cheeks as I drove away and back into the old hills of Winslow as I wondered who stole the soul and why were they allowed to?