If you’ve read many of my posts or been to my place, you’ll see that my garden is an extension of my studio, and a huge source of inspiration and reprieve for me. The studio structure is a converted two-car garage, and when we moved in, there was no garden to speak of. So when we designed the interior space and added a window, the view wasn’t as big of a concern as it should have been. (Hindsight). Fortunately, the garage also had a screened-in porch attached, and that has become one of my favorite places to think.
This weekend, my hubby helped me out by making a little writing desk out of an old wooden palette. It works perfectly in the space, allowing me to overlook the garden and stay mosquito-free at the same time (a huge task around here). He lovingly named it “The Raven” a testament to his sense of humor, and a nod to his inner Mad Hatter.
For some, rainy days and Mondays are big downers, but I happen to love both (However, I currently don’t report to “work” on most Mondays, so that most likely determines my affection). This morning brought spring rains, and I was able to clear my head while enjoying the vibrant beauty of the garden. The birds sang happily. I even made a quirky little poem to memorialize the moment:
And as I’m wrapping up this post, guess who perched outside my back door?
The raven’s unglamorous Texas cousin, the grackle (as seen through the screen, from my new desk).
I had the privilege of hosting a workshop yesterday for several art teachers here in Frisco. At the end of the day, I challenged them to go out and participate in “guerilla” art. (I was inspired by Keri Smith’s “The Guerilla Art Kit” — a great, easy-to-use book on how to get started making anonymous, public art). They divided into 6 different groups and each went out to make their mark on the world. Here’s what they did:
The guerilla group known as “Sam Itch“ left hidden fortunes about town for others to find. Wish I could have found one, or been a fly on the wall somewhere to see when someone came across each one. Hopefully, some unsuspecting passers-by made fortunate discoveries!
Another group, cleverly known as “notice the name of my group” left little notices in a local park — encouraging others to see the beauty around them.
“Notice the Nice Kick” encourages viewers to examine a public sculpture that the viewer must look inside of and spin the wheel to view the football player kicking a football.
The CMs made a Wish Tree. They created leaves and wrote their own wishes – then left blank ones on the tree for others to add to. (I got to add my own wish to this one).
“Big Pine”made ‘friendly’ notes out of simple circles.
This is one of my favorites – I love the way adding the eyes makes the locker look like a face!
The “Rockerillas” transformed a rock garden into a work of art.
Very cool! And last — but definitely not least — is a work done with chalk.
Thanks to all of these artists for sharing their work! Keep up the creativity this summer!
Welcome to my new blog! After much deliberation, I’ve decided to start a new blog- new title and everything- to contain my latest news, updates, artwork, and ideas. My old blog was ok, but due to the fact that it was linked thru my yahoo account, I was having a hard time updating and posting as easily as I wanted to. Blogs really shouldn’t be that difficult! So I decided to start fresh.
With this blog I hope to post more often, add more photos, and let you know a little bit more about myself. I also have a lot of new ideas and artwork to show you. So, check back often!
My next big adventure is the artseen studio tour, coming this October 15 & 16. I will open my studio for visitors, and I hope you can stop by. In addition to participating in the tour, I’m also coordinating it. It’s quite a lot of work, but I’m very excited to start an art tour here in Frisco. There are so many really talented artists here. Hope to see you at the studio tour!
When I moved to Frisco, TX almost five years ago, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on a personal level. I knew it had great schools, so that appealed to my maternal need to give my kids “the best.” It has a pretty good city plan, as far as suburbs go. And we found a good little house in a nice neighborhood at a great price. Plus, it had a studio for me! But I wondered what would be in store for me career wise– you know, artistically. At the time, I was doing a lot of decorative painting, which included murals and faux finishes, and Frisco was (and still is) one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. There were lots of possibilities for those kinds of jobs here. I kept pretty busy.
On the side, I was making my art when I could, and I was eager to meet other artists. I was hoping that the art scene reflected the progressive attitude I saw in the rest of the city. I joined the local art guild, and soon started meeting some great artists — many artists around my age who were making some really great work. It really inspired me to keep making more art and to keep showing it. Over the past couple of years, the art guild has grown into a really cool group (www.vagf.org), and it looks like the rest of the city is catching up.
This past weekend, we hosted the reception for our first show of 2011, “Resolutions,” to a crowd of well over 100 people. We had a great time hanging out at the new Discovery Center– Frisco’s new visual and performing arts venue. Awards were given, artwork was sold, new connections were made. I had several conversations with other Friscoans (non-artists) that had been longing for art events to attend within the city limits. They could actually have a classy date-night right here in town.
The previous weekend, thegallery8680 held their first opening of the year, and I am privileged to be a part of that show. Director Robyn Parker Feehan is the visionary behind thegallery8680; she started the space last year to promote contemporary artists in the region. This show, “Celebrating Women Artists” includes photography, drawing, painting and mixed media works from nine female artists from Texas. The reception was a great success, again with over 100 people in attendance. More proof that Frisco is becoming a hot spot for the visual arts in North Texas!
I really believe that moving to Frisco was the right move for me as an artist. We’ve got a core group of artists who are working to create an active arts community. It’s still in the formative stage, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction. It will be interesting to see what the next few years bring.
If you’re in town, check out these exhibits:
The “Resolutions” VAGF Member Show will be on display at Frisco Discovery Center through Saturday, February 26. Frisco Discovery Center is located at 8004 N. Dallas Parkway, Frisco 75034. Hours are M-F 10-5, Sat. 10-6 and Sun. noon-6pm. Admission is free. Information on the Visual Arts Guild of Frisco can be found at www.vagf.org.
“Celebrating Women Artists” runs through March 12 at thegallery8680, located at 8680 Main Street, Frisco 75034. There will be a daytime reception/luncheon on Wednesday, March 9, from 11:30am – 3:00pm. Visit thegallery8680 blog at www.thegallery8680.blogspot.com. Call Robyn for an appointment to see the artwork at 214.585.8175.
“One of the hardest things in the world is to see yourself objectively. I’m not sure it’s even possible.”
I recently (last week) decided to start doing at least one self-portrait every year. I’ve only really done a few “official” self-portraits in the past. Of course, each work of art has my heart and soul in it, but there are some that are more personally reflective than others. Let me share them with you.
Here’s the earliest self-portrait I can find, made in August of 1988, when I was fifteen. I hadn’t had a lot of artistic training up to that point, but I think I got a pretty good likeness. At least that’s how I remember myself looking. (Check out those bangs!)
I’ll continue by skipping the horrible self-portrait I did in college, the result of a class assignment. A family member owns it now and will not let me take it back and destroy it. Or atleast paint over it. If I have anything to do with it, that painting will NOT make it into the art history books. It’s humiliating on so many levels.
Here’s a charcoal self-portrait I did several years back when I was teaching and my students were working on self-portraits. I didn’t put a date on this drawing, but I’m pretty sure it was made in the fall of 2001, right after 9/11. I was expecting my second child and had lots on my mind. Maybe that explains the serious look.
Here’s something that started out as a self-portrait, but ended up not as an image of me, but a reflection of how I felt at the time…
This was begun in 2006 (top), when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. The title was always the same, “Ou est la joie de vivre?” Translated from French to English, it means “Where is the Joy of Life?” It’s also a play on words, because the collaged images that I used were taken from a wallpaper pattern called ‘Joie de Vivre,’ which shows families happily working and frolicking, just happy to be alive, I guess. No worries in this ideal world. I worked on this painting over the next three years, keeping the collaged elements, but at some point I took out my likeness and replaced it with a woman who is turned away from the viewer. Possibly the journey in this painting is more valuable than the end product. But I think that’s true for all of my work.
Last year I made this 4×4 inch collage entitled “36” that I consider my self portrait for 2009. It’s definitely more lighthearted than some in previous years, thank goodness!
This painting, although I wouldn’t consider it a self-portrait, has a lot of personal connections. Also completed last year, “She Comes from Texas” uses the image of the Venus de Milo as the main subject. The title comes from a collaged passage, located below her feet. It is a quote Ernest Hemmingway, which I found in another book, written in the 1950s. It says, “With us, if a girl is really beautiful, she comes from Texas and maybe, with luck, she can tell you what month it is. They can all count good, though. They teach them how to count, and keep their legs together, and how to put their hair up in pin curls.”
Obviously, the point here is the irony, but I think the quote hit a nerve with me. Growing up in rural Texas, I often felt that I was viewed this way by the men and boys I grew up with. In our small-town culture, the main way I saw males communicate with females was through teasing. Most of it was light-hearted, but I tended to take things very personally, and really never felt very good about it. I learned to smile, though. As a matter of fact, one of my nicknames given to me from male coaches as a teenager was “smiley,” (in addition to “stubby” and “air head deluxe”). I thought that most men thought I was pretty dumb. Wonder why?
So here is my latest “self-portrait.” I’ve been working on it for a few months, but just completed it yesterday. There’s a lot going on here, but I think that is the perfect reflection of who I am right now. There is charcoal, paint, furniture molding, computer keyboard parts, a playing card, and collaged wallpaper. The central figure doesn’t look anything like me, but I think she reflects confidence. I’ve been growing in that this year. Probably my favorite part of this is the blue square behind the girl’s head — it’s a Post-It Note. Any mother or ambitious woman can relate to needing constant reminders, all over the place, all the time. It’s definitely been one of those years for me.
It will be interesting to see how my life, my style and my self-perception changes over the years. I’ll keep you posted.