Friday, June 28, 2019

Ancient, old-fashioned, and new

Edinburgh is not just a city but a friend - my ghostly companion made of cobblestone, sandstone, and extinct volcanoes. Strong and sure when I am not, I water the flowers with my tears. They grow so well in summer (and things stay green in the spring, winter, and autumn too). The streets are dirty and trash blows across the beauty just to knock us all down a peg or two. The pavements are wide enough for us all but also selective in places. We fall into line and most of the time it's worth it. The Castle looms and Arthur's Seat is a beacon, both a reminder to look up and outward.

The sun is a joy when it visits, every sunburn is worth it. The haar turns a typical day into a mystery. The rain is the backing track to dreams and disappointments. The local voices sing their hellos and goodbyes as the Firth of Forth holds us and soothes our edges.

I walk into the sun, smell the jasmine, hops, and weed as I dodge dog shite and old mattresses with a smile on my face. My city has so many faces and this comforts me. Together we keep evolving- ancient, old-fashioned, and new. 


My brother Sean and his lovely wee family were in town this week visiting from the states, the above post is a short reflection of the visit, and of being a tourist in my own backyard. I remember why I love this city and Scotland as a whole. It was a wonderful week of seeing it all and reconnecting with my family.  I am thankful for the good people of Scotland and Edinburgh for making them feel welcomed and consider myself lucky to live here. It was good to take a week off work to enjoy it all with people I love dearly. Haste ye back! Here's the Tuesday Studio Video Visit if you missed it. 

In art news: 

I received the six new small works back from Leith Framing Studio - always a delight to see them framed. I will soon be taking them to the fabulous Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello for the next mixed exhibition, which opens a week from today! 

The Velvet Easel Gallery would like to extend a warm invitation to our new mixed exhibition, The Stars Go Waltzing.

The exhibition will feature a myriad of new and exciting artists as well as work by those already popular in the gallery. Drinks and nibbles will be served throughout the opening day on Saturday 6th of July

The Stars go Waltzing will run from Saturday 6th July to Sunday the 27th October and the gallery opening hours are:

Thursday - Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12 -5

In other exhibition news, mark your diaries and get your free ticket (see link below). I am delighted that I will be participating in the Out of the Blue is 25 Exhibition, Thursday 18th - Thursday 25th July. Join us for the exhibition launch: Thursday 18th July, 6pm - 9pm (book free tickets), The  exhibition will be open daily from 10am-5pm (except Sunday)

An exhibition of our studio artists’ work to celebrate 25 years of Studio provision in Edinburgh by Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust.

Out of the Blue is delighted to present an exhibition showcasing the rich array of practices taking place behind our studio doors. Bringing together painters, textile artists, jewellers and everything in-between as a celebration of ingenuity, imagination, innovation, and craft.

Until next week, keep fighting. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Old ghosts dance under the surface

The sea whispers to me
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

After the excitement of open studios and my pop up exhibition, "To tell you everything" at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall last Saturday, it felt good to return to my very tidy studio and return to the work of painting.

I am not quite ready to dive back into my dark series yet, so I returned to some smaller work. These are lighter and brighter with hidden bits. I like to think of them as "A small series about control." These pieces nod to the palette used in "Echoes and memory" but also nod to other works with a dash of the pink here and there. They are textured, layered, and minimal with a touch of play but mostly a touch of control. When I want to control things, I love nothing more than a clear path. When the path is messy and murky in painting and in life, there is nothing better to me than to white it out, blank it out, clean it up, and fix it. This is much easier to do with painting. There may be chaos under the surface but with a broad stroke of paint, it is covered and cleaned. This creates a rich play of what is seen and what is almost seen, textures of what was, as the old ghosts dance under the surface.

On the wind
Mixed media on canvas 
2019 Megan Chapman

Six of these small, 20x20x4cm (8x8x1.5") canvases were worked on until completion, documented, varnished, titled, and taken to the framer this week. All six of these pieces were chosen by Roz Walker, fellow artist, and owner of the Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello, Edinburgh for inclusion in the next mixed show opening July 6th. It was a productive week.

If you listen (again)
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

I also had some fun with the Tuesday Studio Video Visit, singing to the pieces and giving viewers a good up-close look at the work.

Where my soul roams
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

The flowers I bring
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

Small gestures
Mixed media on canvas
2019 Megan Chapman

Until next week, keep fighting - the world needs you and the light you bring.

Friday, June 14, 2019

A beautiful moment

I had the honour of working with PAPER+WHITE, award-winning international interior design and art consultancy based in England with studios in London’s East End and Cambridgeshire at the end of last year and the start of 2019. 

I am delighted to be able to share these gorgeous photos of my paintings in situ in this stunning family apartment in Kensington, London. 

Interior Design and Art Consultancy Credit: Paper + White 
Photography Credit: The Interior Photographer 
Photos used with permission.

This is another big moment in my art career, if you would have told me twenty years ago when I was about to graduate with my BFA in Painting from the University of Oregon, that five of my original paintings (four of which were site-specific commissions) would live in a stunning, well appointed, and impeccably designed apartment in Kensington, London I am not sure if I would have believed you. I must admit it feels right though and it feels good. I have worked hard for this. I am thankful for all the help I have been given and for the opportunities that have come my way. I am thankful to myself for never giving up. Special thanks to the supremely talented Davina Stanley of Paper +White. 

In other news, tomorrow (Saturday, June 15th) my studio G23 will be open as part of the Summer Arts Market at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall from 11-5 at 36 Dalmeny Street, Leith, Edinburgh. The hall will be filled with carefully curated stalls filled with art, craft, and design goodness. The wonderful Mairi Brown will also have her studio open just up the stairs from mine. Please join us, we love opening our studios for you! Weather permitting, I may have a special treat for you in the form of my pop up exhibition, "To tell you everything." Here is a short video of the installation (I had a soft launch on Monday). Let's hope we have dry weather for tomorrow but if not, I will have it at a later date.

Until next week, keep fighting, keep trying, and dream big. The world needs you and your art. Thank you.

Friday, June 7, 2019

No longer a mystery: Art and Money

Between memory and story
Mixed media on canvas
© 2018 Megan Chapman
“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss Money” ― Oscar Wilde

This week I sent art to two patrons through the post and met one patron for a long lunch and to hand deliver his piece from my online studio sale. I am also waiting to send a patron her piece when it is best for her schedule. I am delighted with these recent sales and thankful as always for my patrons. 

On Tuesday, I recorded my Tuesday Studio Video Visit and talked a wee bit about money and the value of art. You can see it again here. 

This lead me to think more about the art market, and what we have been trained or coached to do as we promote our work and why. One of the big rules used to be (and still is) don't put your prices on your website. Your website should stand as a priceless portfolio. The galleries will decide your prices.

There is so much conflicting advice given when it comes to marketing our art. The value and price of art feels mysterious, and I think perhaps it's meant to be (in an if you know, you know sort of way). If you know me, you know I like to demystify the art process and bring it down to earth (well, the parts that can be brought down - not the mystical bits). 

If I go to a yard/rummage/car boot sale/flea market/department store or any other retailer and the seller has their things set out but with no prices, I might see something I love but I will probably walk on by. I might not feel inquisitive that day - I might think that their items are way out of my price range, and I don't want to feel embarrassed, so I won't ask. I might also think their prices are variable and may change depending on the person asking. I will operate from my assumptions, fears, and limited information and go on my merry way. 

So why were artists coached to keep prices off our websites? The old dangling carrot, if you wanted gallery representation, or to be taken seriously, you just don't do it. So we did what we were told. 

Yesterday, I finally put my prices on my website (after twenty years). At first, it felt like I was doing something wrong or tacky. It was a strange mixture of rebellion and empowerment but more importantly, it felt transparent and honest. I was relieved. 

I also added a payment plan section. It's lovely when a patron knows what they want and knows they can pay for it outright and I am always thankful. I also love working with people who need more time to pay off their art purchases. Now, I state how this works clearly on my website in the contact section. Depending on the price of the piece, you can take up to 3, 6, 12, or 14 months to pay off your painting. 

We budget for clothes, cars, rent, mortgages, utilities, holidays, university costs, and charity. Why not budget for art? Making art a priority in your life and committing to building a collection one payment at a time feels good and knowing that you are supporting a living artist is icing on the cake!

Art doesn't need to be treated like a luxury because I don't think it has to be one. I think art can be a necessity and my desire is to get it to you any way I can. Whether it's a £20 paper piece or sketch from my online studio sale on social media to a £2,200 large work on canvas from my studio, website, or a gallery that represents me, I have you covered.

Thank you. Be well and keep fighting. 

PS. Are you looking for an art mentor? Work with me!