Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm teaching at Artfest 2008

If you've been reading my blog awhile, you know that last year was my first time at Artfest and I completely loved it; in fact, I was smitten. In case you have never been, this event is held at a State Park called Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA. It's a quaint area perched on the Olympic Peninsula. There is water water everywhere. Fabulous beach. Mountains that peek out every couple of days. It is spectacular scenery, just the place to inspire creativity.

And the creative energy is electric. Although I knew very few people, I immediately felt welcomed. I released all my fears and immersed myself in 3 days of art. It was a whirlwind of activity and I left wildly stimulated with techniques to incorporate into my work. In fact, months later I am still(!!) processing things I learned. It was that good.

What prompted me to pitch a class I will never completely understand - let's just say the spirit moved me. After I got home I started thinking about how much I learned and speculating as to whether I have anything to offer the multitude of talented Artfest attendees. It struck me that perhaps I do.....maybe people would be interested in learning about my experiments with claybord. Maybe they would want to play around with abstracts and know how to start a small body of work. And maybe, just maybe, I could share my artistic journey. My class is called Exploring the Abstract and more details can be found on the Artfest website. Read carefully and follow the instructions on dates as Artfest sells out quickly. Trust me, you won't want to miss it! To learn more on all the workshops offered, plus specifics on accommodations and costs, click Artfest 2008.

Hope to see you there!


I have some artwork in this new zine by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn. These two lovely ladies are part of the Artpub gang and they graciously accepted one of my collages for entry in this new production. I haven't seen it yet, but feel certain it is faboo and full of amazing inspiration. If you would like to order a copy, click here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Messy Mania

Yikes, we are leaving in 2 days and I am working like a maniac. I thought I would share these studio photos because it is so incredibly trashed I have to question how I even work. Good grief.

These photos (which you still can't enlarge individually, sorry about that) show, from left to right, mats(this is a small sample of the nearly 100 mats hanging out waiting for art); an abstract waiting for its mats; my desk with gesso gesso everywhere; boxes of collage parts; finished pieces awaiting varnish; more boxes of collage parts; more pieces awaiting varnish; the layout area; and the desk again. Ugh.

I've been working round the clock. Last night I made it into bed sometime after 2am. I decided to sleep in the guest room to avoid disturbing John; God forbid I might have jarred him out of his animal snores (sorry baby, this is your only shortcoming as a human being). Anyway, I had just settled down, snuggled up to my body pillow when Boom! Merlyn jumped on me. From the floor up onto the bed. I have no idea what he was thinking as he has never done that before. Scared the poop out of me and it took me forever to get to sleep.

Today I was back at it by 10-ish. Working new pieces; printing giclee reproductions; painting canvas sides. I need an assistant. Seriously, I am nearly there, almost to the point where I could keep someone busy for perhaps one day a week. That would be oh so glorious.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Open Studios

Wow, what a fun event this was! Here are some pictures which hopefully give you an idea of the scene.
The building is a fabulous art deco space - there are apartments above however we were in a vacant area on the first floor. It was raw and unfinished, just the way I like it. I would LOVE to have a studio there!
In order to be true to the concept of Open Studios, we were supposed to create a "mini" version of our home studio and also really make some art so people could observe our process. You can see that I put down a blue tarp to define my space. And yeah, I did work, my first time with an audience but I liked it because it led to great interaction with visitors.
I used this event to debut my new body of work, The Community series. I felt like a proud Mama with a new baby. I was excited, yet a little scared and protective as I waited to see people's reaction. I have designed the pieces to be modular and mix & match, so you can choose an orientation for each piece. I hung them on nails so they could easily be turned or moved. It was so cool to see folks actually playing around with them and considering options. The reactions were quite supportive, geez I have only finished 14-8x8's and I sold half of those on Sunday. Obviously I need to get back to work! But alas, I have 2 (back to back) shows and we leave in about 10 days, so first things first......
PS......some of you have commented on the new format of the pictures. I would love to claim some genius with this (ha) but all I did was download free software from Picasa2 and it creates these contact sheets. I've been trying to work with it to see if you can click to enlarge, hopefully it will happen this time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

And finally, here are pictures from the Preview Party.

That sign cracked me up. They were serving oodles of cocktails and little finger foods; folks were roaming freely around the Open Studio art, swilling drinks (yeah, me too), chomping nuts. But no food or drinks around the real art. Oh no, doncha even think about it as there were "guards" at the entry to the other galleries.

The second picture is the view of the wall where my work was hung and you can get an idea of the attendance. LOTS of people there. It was a real see and be scene.

Third pic shows my art. It's that itty bitty abstract, the sienna, turquoise and yellow one from my new Community series. Had I known we could submit a diptych (like the person below me), I would have done. I thought my piece held it's own though.

And finally, dinner with our friends John & Darryl. They looked like rock stars, handsome and attired to perfection. I, however, was wearing my sweater INSIDE OUT.....yeesh....

I am hanging the Open Studio pieces today. If you're in the St. Louis area, stop by and see me at 3615 Olive (corner of Grand, in the Continental Life Bldg.) on Sunday from 10-4. I will have the "never seen before" paintings in my Community series, some "in progress" works, in addition to a selection of smaller abstract studies (offered at bargain prices). I am staging the space like my actual studio so you can see how I create my paintings. There are 17 artists in this building and it will be a unique opportunity to interact with us about our art.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Preview Party Tuesday Night!!

I am participating in the Contemporary Art Museum's City-Wide Open Studios this year. It is thrilling to be a part of the event. It's the first time the museum has provided "alternative" space to those of us who do not actually maintain a studio within the city limits.

Tomorrow night is the Preview Party where visitors to the museum will find one piece from each participant on display. If you're in the St. Louis area, please come on down between 5:30-9:30 to enjoy the art; have a beverage from Schlafly; and food from Wolfgang Puck (I am guessing from his eatery, not the man himself?). Anyway, it is sure to be a good time and I will be there.......trying not to look like toooooo much of a dork when I ask John to take a picture of me in front of my piece.

If you can't make it, check out the slide show where you will see amazing work from talented folks here in the Midwest. Grab the online map so you can visit artist studios on Saturday. And by all means, come visit me on Sunday at the Alternative Space; I'll be there from 10-4 and then you can find me at the Starving Artist BBQ .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Razzle dazzle Krasl

What a wonderful weekend this has been. I feel a little like I was on vacation which is quite a feat. Geez, who knew the southwest coast of Michigan would be so beautiful?

After we set up on Friday, we snuck down to the beach and relaxed for a bit. Of course we didn't have bathing suits and the best we could muster up was a ratty Mexican blanket instead of a beach towel, but that didn't stop us.

Oh my, the sounds of the surf. The splendor of the rocks. It was an amazing couple of hours as I rambled along the shore. The smooth rocks were such an inspiration, I feel they may encourage a new palette. I collected quite a few, in a range of colors, to bring home and place in a water pool in my studio. How glorious.

But Krasl, oh yes, I was here to work after all.
What to say??? Why did I like the show so much? Was it perhaps because I won Best in Category for 2D Mixed Media? Or maybe because we hung with artist friends? Or because we met new people who will surely become friends? Or because our booth was on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan? Or the restaurants?? The faboo Cafe Gulistan, a Middle Eastern delight with such amazing food (thxs to darling dancing Emily(our waitress) for her stellar advice on food selection.) Or maybe because my sweetie and I were able to take a minute to spontaneously watch the setting sun?

I suspect it was all these reasons and more. I don't know for sure. I do know the air is clean and crisp. And this lake feels like an ocean with its restorative waters. We will be back. You can count on that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Brand New Day

Thanks to Van Morrison for the song of the day, chosen during my morning walk/run.

Wow, what a crazy few days. I've been on this manic jag, working like a wild woman until all hours of the morning. In fact, last night I did my final prep (before packing) for the Krasl show till after 1AM then couldn't get to sleep for 2 more hours, ugh, I hate it when that happens. Luckily I was able to sleep in this morning until 9:30 which is when I dragged my sorry butt out of bed to take a walk.

And brand new day indeed. I was stunned to see the weather transformed overnight into this glorious scene. If you were to invent weather, this is what you might choose, low humidity, clear skies, low 70's this morning. It did get a little hot this afternoon but it was still so reasonable. Very nice and oh so rare for St. Louis in July.

We are heading up to Michigan tomorrow for Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. I am excited to be going there as I've always wanted to spend some time on the western coast of Michigan, which I have heard is gorgeous. We are hoping to be able to relax a bit before the show starts on Saturday. And I am happy to be doing a show. I intentionally reduced my schedule this year to be more manageable, but wouldn't you know it, I actually miss the shows when I am off.

So, if you are on the west side of Michigan, come on out and see me. If you're in St. Louis, stay tuned for news about the City-wide Open Studios next weekend - I am part of the Alternative space which shows on Sunday, July 22nd. The Contemporary Art Museum's website has all the info including images of work by participating artists. It's pretty cool; there is some awesome work! Check it out and mark your calendar for the Preview party on 7/17.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My perfect birthday weekend

I had such a lovely birthday with celebrations continuing into tomorrow, geez, how did I get to be so spoiled!?!?!

My sweetie got me a new iPod since my 2 year old Mini has been a big ol' pain in the rear. The display kept getting brighter and brighter until it was impossible to read. I found that, if I let the battery run down about halfway, I could use it for a short period of time but it was such a hassle. For the last 4 months or so I've been using it long enough to last through my exercise and mediation.

So......John got me a Nano, the 8 gig red one where some of the profits go to Aids research. It is beyond fabulous, so thin and sleek. And he had it engraved with Wish you were here, our fave Pink Floyd song. We got a Lucite case for it that has a removable clip on the back so I can put it on my waistband when I work out. I think I will keep it in the case all the time because I don't want this beauty to get scratched.

I slept late on my birthday and had a brownie and coffee for breakfast, yum! John and I went downtown to see the site of the Alternative Open Studio event I will be part of in 2 weeks. I perused all the available space and instantly knew the one I wanted - small but wonderful, a lovely stretch of wall with a bank of adjacent windows. The ceiling is high, the floors are raw. Just divine. I get to create whatever I want in this space and I am thrilled with the prospect of inventing my own studio experience for visitors to this event. Mark your calendar for July 22nd if you live around here and I will post specifics shortly.

We then went to the Farmer's market, ran some other errands and came home for lunch. I meditated and took a nap mid afternoon, glorious. Talked to both my parents on the phone, played in the studio, received well wishes from my brothers and opened birthday cards. Yikes, what a huge crop this year, I feel incredibly blessed.

We went to Jimmy's on the Park for dinner, a wonderful restaurant in the Demun area of Clayton (this is a gorgeous older community where I would buy a house if we were to suddenly come in to a lot of money, ha, ha). We were joined by our best pals Bud, Claire, Marian, & Robin. They embarrassed me with an excessive number of gifts. OK, I wasn't *that* embarrassed. It was just an all round preponderance of riches, the friendships, the meal, the gifts.

John put some lottery tickets in my card and incredibly, I won some money.....seven dollars. Wouldn't you know it? Too bad there weren't a few more zeros, huh?

Tonight we went to Beth + Frank's for dinner and hung out with them and the grand kids. They all sang Happy Birthday to me and it was all I could do to keep from crying, watching those sweet boys sing their hearts out. Oh my. A perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Color Play

I am back at work on my Common Denominator series since we leave for a show next week. I've been trying to split my time between the new abstracts, which are going to be shown at an event in association with our Contemporary Museum (more on that later) and the collages. It's fun to change gears like this and I think I learn something each time.

So, as I was building backgrounds, I thought about a discussion I had with another painter about color. She worked in all blues/purples and of course I work in so many reds/oranges. It was funny because she said she has been trying to branch out but can't seem to do it easily. And of course I have had the same problem. I finally achieved some success with a blue/green palette and with pinks & neutrals, but purple continues to be a challenge. Over the past year, I have tried purple over and over with horrendous butt ugly results. I feel plagued by purple.

But today I tried to take my time and do more mixing. I feel a little bit more comfortable. Now, mind you, this isn't purple per se, but it's as close as I've ever gotten. My toe is now in the water; I like the direction and plan to do a little bit more. It turns out I have some great papers that work with the palette, specifically this swell vintage doll house wall paper(say that three times fast). The second piece doesn't have a phrase yet, more thinking needed on my part, probably something about their haircuts....

What a fun time I had playing! I have a full un-interrupted studio day tomorrow (meaning I don't have to leave the house for anything. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th

Ever since I was a kid my birthday has been celebrated on the 4th of July. The cake involved sparklers, a tradition my Mom continued even on my 40th. That was the same year she insisted that no one in our family liked icing (who on earth put out that fiction!) and instead fixed a "healthy" cake with berries and non-fat whipped cream. For the record, allow me to say I love icing. I do not, however, enjoy whipped cream, go figure.

My birthday was celebrated on the 4th as a matter of convenience in that my family was already together. In recent years we had a reunion of sorts, immediate family only, at my brother's lake house in Kentucky. This year we are spread out from our origins in Ohio, to Missouri, Tennessee & Texas. Managing a get together with my brother's 4 little ones is complicated and we do well to make it happen once a year. So John and I will have a quiet 4th with some friends.

I have been thinking about my birthday though and trying to figure out what to do. It falls on 07/07/07 and I will be 47. With all that lucky 7 energy, seems like I should have monumental plans. Something profoundly life altering; something wild and reckless; or at a minimum, something really high calorie. Suggestions anyone?

Monday, July 02, 2007

In case you were wondering

I have been told that other artists appreciate my honest approach in sharing the good and bad side of this crazy business. Lately I've had lots of good news, in fact, I haven't even shared some of it. Such as I got into Kentuck, a show I really wanted. Plus I am wait listed for Plaza, which was one of my best shows last year. And I was invited to be one of 4 artists to show abstracts in an upcoming gallery show. Not to mention a couple other thrilling things I will hold up my sleeve for the moment. So, I have lots going on in addition to my active Art Fair schedule.

But today was a pretty crappy day. I was very bummed out about this white on white painting; I don't know why it hit me so hard. It's been a long time since I cried over a rejection, and I felt like a big baby, but this was the day. Probably because I am a member of Art Saint Louis and really care about their shows so much. Also because I felt my work was so on point with the topic. The piece was hard for me and I put everything into it. Not that I don't normally do that, but I felt more emotionally invested than usual.

I guess I mainly feel so stupid. Like why do I keep entering these darn shows over and over only to face rejection. Yeah, just kick me again.

I always think I have a fresh chance since it is different jurors every time, for different topics; typically I paint something special like I did this time. But it's been so long since I have gotten into a show. It's embarrassing to me and this was a tough blog to write. I would love for it all to be happy happy but it's not. And despite telling myself this was just one (or two) person's opinion(s); that I am successfully supporting myself with my art; that I have experienced regular recurring success on multiple levels this year.......despite all that stuff....it still sucks big time.


We had a perfect weekend with the kids. They are so much fun, even when Ian plays the pouty boy at Claire & Kenny's famous salmon party.
Later in the evening they got rambunctious and knocked me off my shoes (those are my faboo Kork-Ease; they make me 5'3").

What a time to cherish and a lovely prelude to my birthday week. Here are some snippets:

Morning cuddle time; it was insanely early but somehow I didn't mind when we were curled up in bed watching Peter Pan.

Dinosaurs and dolphin cupcakes, oh my. Not even too many sprinkles on the floor, yet another miracle.

"Why Yia Yia?, " Ian says. Again. And again. And again. Thank goodness, this too shall pass.

Studio time with Aidan. I gave him a small sketchbook and a mechanical pencil (his first). His drawings have always been good but I love the detail he works when using a pencil. Our discussions about art are so pure.

Songs and stories before bedtime, all four of us sprawled across the bed.

Wading in the creek, looking for fish and frogs and turtles. Boys and their never ending love for rock throwing - Ian heaving a rock nearly the size of his head.

And yes, I did attend a "foodie" part with a hot dog in my purse.

And then finally.....whew.....the quiet after we got them into bed. John and I, thankful for the opportunity to be part of the boy's lives; marvelling over the energy of their parents; and rejoicing for the magic of our grandchildren.