Friday, March 27, 2020

We create our own systems

It's Friday and I am here. I am listening to Santigold's first album on the big headphones. I did order two lots of art supplies earlier in the week, as I said I would in my last post. I have not yet received them, so I looked around the house to see what types of supplies I could piece together in the interim. I mentioned to Edinburgh based painter and illustrator, David Schofield on Twitter that I might end up finger painting on cardboard with coffee. I am still not too inspired to paint right now, but I am following through and setting up some space and I might even work on something later today. I just need to start. Again, I don't exactly think this is the time to keep performing as if this is a normal time or just another work week in the studio. Remember, how you choose to cope or process what is happening around the world is up to you. 

I just woke up from a long nap on the sofa. The sky is flat grey, the pavements are wet, and the shower is broken. The Prime Minister and the UK's Health secretary have both tested positive for the virus. 

Thank goodness for friends, music, and art. We keep showing up for each other. My dear friend artist and musician, John Kay (I will link to his Bandcamp page once he has it set up) sent me money for supplies earlier in the week. Artist, musician, and friend, Karl Macrae made his last payments this week on one of my paintings. Another artist and dear friend, Maggie Ivy bought me a cup of coffee and then I bought a cup of coffee for textile artist, Mairi Brown. And this is how we do it. 

As artists, many of us keep passing the same money (when we have it) around to keep each other afloat and we have been doing this for years. We keep lifting each other up. We are legion and we must not forget this and somehow we must create our own systems that actually work for us. The old systems sure as hell aren't working. Let's all think about this.

In other news, I put some of my "art" photos on my ko-fi page. I also shared some of my accidental portraits over there and linked to a podcast I used to do as well. Trying to flesh out the page in thanks to those who have already supported me over there and to those that hopefully will in the future. Ko-Fi is a friendly platform to support artists. If you are an artist yourself, consider setting up a page. 

I recorded my Tuesday Studio Video Visit from home and put it on my YouTube page (still very much under construction over there) but here it is again if you missed it. 

I think that is all I have for you this week. Be well, stay safe, distance, and isolate. Wash your hands. We need you and the gifts you bring. Patrons we need you more than ever. 

With love, gratitude, and hope for the world, 

Enjoy my blog and my work? Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, March 20, 2020

Return the gift

For what it's worth 62x76cm mixed media on canvas, framed in white, 2019, Megan Chapman
 Currently available through Irving Gallery. 
I am writing this post on Monday. I know my blogs have been backdated A LOT these days. Part of it is due to simply getting out of my routine and part of is that I don't feel as connected to my readers as I once did. I know that my lack of energy for this space and lack of readership go hand in hand. This space is still very important to me. I don't enjoy it as much when it becomes solely a promotional platform and it has been that A LOT lately. I like it more when it becomes a thoughtful, dreamy place where I can write freely and express some other part of my art brain that is usually held closer within and secreted away. Sometimes, I don't even want to write about my studio practice here, so I may feel limited at times by the scope that I originally set for this blog back in 2007. 

I realise of course, that I can write whatever the hell I want to and as I don't have the same dedicated art following here as I once did when blogs were king and social media meant MySpace, now is really the time to regift this space to myself. I am a painter and I write as part of my practice. Sometimes it is overtly connected and sometimes it is not and that is enough. This space is mine. 

Welcome to the re-gifting of Megan Chapman's Studio Blog. Imagine I have cut a long velvet ribbon with gigantic golden scissors and if you want, you are welcome to cross the threshold. It's like an old shoe with a new set of laces. 

I am listening to Beirut's song "Gallipoli" on repeat turned up loud on my big wireless headphones. I am still a firm believer in a good song on repeat to take me somewhere or to give me the space to find somewhere new in my brain, this is my sonic meditation. Music is everything to me. 

So here we are, in our Covid-19 days. I have not been to my studio in 2 weeks. I didn't think when I was there last that I wouldn't be just right back. I didn't gather up materials or supplies to work from home. I wasn't thinking that far in advance to our fast-approaching new reality. I live about an 18-minute bus ride away from my sacred space. I, of course, could walk there and have done so in the past or I could even ride my bike. I am not so sure if that is a good idea anymore. 

Today, I haven't even gone outside across the road to the wee beach (Wardie Bay) as more and more people are going out to nature and not observing the social distancing rules (2 metres/6.5feet) it becomes more difficult to feel safe or to avoid people. So here I am, trying to figure out a way to work from home in this new reality. 

If any of you have visited my studio in Edinburgh or even back in Fayetteville, Arkansas (at the Fayetteville Underground or any of my home studios) you will know that I am not a passive painter and that there are marks left behind on the walls and floors and that I can't seem to politely paint at an easel no matter how hard I try. So, of course, my work will change as I work from home. Perhaps more collage elements, more written or typed bits, or just tighter cleaner wee paintings. Who knows. I have worked from dining room tables, kitchen counters, and small spaces before. And god knows, I love a challenge. Perhaps there will be more accidental portraits but on a smaller scale. I really don't know. 

All of my exhibitions have been canceled and the galleries closed and I won't be venturing out to the post office to mail any art at this time either. So there goes my livelihood along with so many others. My livelihood is probably more predisposed to this type of upheaval. I am used to working alone and I am used to financial uncertainty. I am used to offering up my work for free to view online just make people happy or to infuse some beauty or interest into their days (I see your Covid-19 pet posts, singing posts, cooking posts and I thank you for them). You may now have a better sense of what many artists and creative people's lives are like. That desire to shift the narrative, to entertain, and to help others with whatever you feel you have to give and it isn't about money. 

However, I feel like The Giving Tree right now (I have always been the tree in that book). Currently, I feel like the stump at the end. This is mostly because I haven't been working as regularly (after that 2019 year-end flurry and I've been spending my time this year getting ready for what I thought was to be an exhibition flurry in 2020). Now, I am away from my studio, the galleries and shows are closed, I am not making my Tuesday Studio Video Visits, and I can't even send you art if you wanted to support me. I feel like I have nothing to give. I know this is not exactly true but it is a feeling that has crossed my brain a few times lately. 

And now watch what I do, I will turn it around. I am pretty good at this part, my middle name is Campbell (but it really should be Resilience). One day when I finally get around to making "my weirdest fucking art yet"™ maybe that will be the name I use - Resilience Campbell. 

So, okay back to the turnaround. Here I am, giving you this, I am writing my Studio Blog - better late than never and I think it's going to pretty good so far. I have ordered art supplies today. Just a few things to get me going again - yellow ochre, black, white, pink, turquoise paint (gotta have some colour!) charcoal sticks, brushes. Thanks, Pat for the birthday giftcard to the art supply store! I still need a few other materials (there seems to be have been a run on oil pastels!) and another generous friend has offered to help me with this. Thanks, John! 

Many of the galleries I show with are posting work online across social media and have e-commerce sites or are in the process of developing them so that patrons can still buy art in order to support their galleries and artists. They are thinking of new ways for us all to stay connected and in business with online art talks and more! For all the links look at last week's post.

After posting this blog, I will start to clear a space where I might be able to work (and as the weather warms I will be able to use the outside patio space too and get some fresh air while observing social distancing/isolation protocol). Tomorrow, I will record a Tuesday Studio Video Visit from home and might change up the format a bit. I still want to get the rest of my videos from Facebook and put them on my YouTube channel - and it looks like I will have plenty of time now to do that tedious task. I can update my online shop and can create new incentives for patrons to support my work- as in it's a great time to put a painting on layaway - at installments that you can afford. There are many things I can do to maintain my practice (and it might not just be painting) and hopefully generate a bit of money. Basically, I need to create my own WPA projects and hope that our capitalist systems fall in line with what is really happening with rent and mortgage freezes, utility freezes, support for the freelance, self-employed and gig economy WORKERS around the world and a basic universal income while we are helping each other by staying in place.

Honestly, haven't we all just been thinking of surviving and protecting our loved ones? This is not the best headspace for me to make art and I am not feeling too creative except for in the kitchen (yes, cooking is an art) but I have lived through many times in my life when it was not the best headspace for making art. The art changes and the headspace changes too. We don't wait for inspiration, we create the conditions for it and we catch it in the ether. Today, I vow to set the stage and have my internal butterfly net alerted to catch the wild ideas that float past. I have more to give, I am not done.

Be well, stay safe, distance, and isolate. Wash your hands. We need you and the gifts you bring, now more than ever. 

With love, gratitude, and hope for the world, 

Enjoy my blog and my work? Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, March 13, 2020

Art in the time of Covid-19

Hello, lovely folks!

I hope you are staying well, safe, and hopefully home and away from others at this time. I am sorry for my recent silence, there has been a lot of information to absorb and things to process for us all.

My solo exhibition at the Helensburgh Art Hub in April has been, of course, smartly canceled. We may try to arrange an online gallery of the works or a digital art talk in the near future.

Also, the fabulous Irving Gallery in Oxford has had to close their doors for now as well and many other galleries are closing for the safety of all involved.

Please like the gallery pages above and below to show them some virtual support as they not only manage their galleries and artists but also their families, communities, and their own personal wellbeing in these uncertain times. Many galleries are working on new and exciting ways to stay connected with their patrons and artists at this time, so please stay tuned.

Sending love and thanks to all the galleries that have represented and shown my work in the past and present and to all the individuals that have supported me over the years. Thank you.

Please follow and support these gallery pages online and across social media as well to stay connected as we move forward: Solo Gallery, The Velvet Easel Gallery, Paper + White and Fenix Fayetteville. I will be posting more regularly soon and will be updating my webshop as well and trying to come up with creative ways to work from home as I am away from my studio. I hope you are well and taking the best care of yourselves and your communities.

Thinking of you all with love and gratitude. - Megan 

Walls too crowded, budget tight? You can still support my work. Click the link to buy me a coffee. Consider becoming a one-off or monthly supporter for exclusive content. Thanks! Support Me on Ko-fi

Friday, March 6, 2020

Two Exhibitions Opening Saturday March the 7th!

Solo Gallery presents ‘First Impressions.' Opening Saturday, March the 7th! 

The exhibition will feature the work of local artist Louise Turnbull and will be shown alongside the work of Anita Phillips, Mary Morrison, Pascale Steenkiste, Megan Chapman, Debbie Lee, Moy Mackay, Barbara Cameron, and Hilary Forbes. 

If you're in the Scottish Borders on Saturday 7th March, come along to the opening from 2-5pm for nibbles and a glass of something bubbly. The exhibition continues until Saturday 4th April. 

I am delighted to have seven pieces in this exhibition and to be sharing the walls with such good company. 

Solo Gallery
51 High Street, Innerleithen EH44 6HD 
Phone: 07495 710687
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm daily, except on Tuesday when the gallery is closed. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-4pm. 
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.

The Velvet Easel Gallery presents 'Where the Shadows Come to Play.' Opening Saturday, March 7th!

A new and exciting mixed exhibition featuring a broad range of mixed media artists. Make plans to come out and support this sweet and varied gallery with something for everyone and receive a kind and warm welcome on Saturday 7th March. Join us from 10am to close on Saturday for the opening and enjoy drinks and nibbles whilst taking in some superb art. The exhibition continues until the 28th of June.

I happily have four new works in this exhibition.

The Velvet Easel Gallery

298 Portobello High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 2AS
Phone: 07813 916684
Gallery hours:
10am - 5pm Thurs, Friday, Saturday. The gallery is also open on Sunday from 12-5pm. Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.

Irving Gallery in Oxford, 'A Place to Breathe.' Exhibition continues!

The exhibition will include paintings by Gina Parr, Helen Booth, Megan Chapman, and Kate Shooter, prints by Maxine Foster and Julie Leach, and photography by Ian Hoskin and Gina Parr.

The exhibition opened Saturday 29th February from 1pm - 5pm. 'A Place to Breathe' will continue until Saturday 18th April. 

I am beyond thrilled to have six new works showing as part of this heavy-hitting exhibition in Oxford, England. If you are in the area, please make plans to attend and send me photos!

Irving Gallery
28 Essex Street, Oxford OX4 3AW, UK
Phone: 07969 673349
Gallery hours:
Wednesday and Thursday 11am - 5pm Friday: 11am- 3pm Saturday: 1pm to 5pm
Follow the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated.

And soon I will have the confirmed details for my solo exhibition at the Helensburgh Art Hub for April.

I know my studio blog has become quite promotional heavy lately, I have been painting here and there (there has been a lot going on behind the scenes). I have painted one small work, one small sculpture, and four accidental portraits this year. After November's intense flurry of activity (a very productive 2019 really) and this flurry of exhibitions, I have not been in the flow but I am looking forward to finding a new rhythm soon. I also very much looking forward to the spring too.

I hope everyone is well, happy and inspired. Thanks to everyone who has seen my work in the galleries carrying it currently, and thanks for the folks that came to my open studio on March 1 and have supported me through my ko-fi page and through the accidental portraits. Take care until next week!