What I want to be when I grow up…

Hi everyone!

I know I have been away for a while, but I am back.  I had an aunt pass away recently…another voice silenced by cancer.  Death in our family is a double-edged sword.  During the wake, cousins from 5 factions come together in a common bond.  The span of ages, of all these cousins, is about 20 years between the oldest and the youngest.  In my family, I have 18 counsins total.  It’s quite a gathering and there is always a celebration of our childhood involved; sharing stories of my aunt and uncle who are now rejoined somewhere we cannot see.  We talked about all the adventures we had as kids in my grandparent’s tavern named Chuck’s Wagon; laughing about the Charlie Pride or Mac Davis songs on the jukebox, the toaster oven cheeseburgers grandma made us, or the Thanksgiving KFC served on the pool table because grandma forgot to turn on the oven to cook the turkey.  We had so many great times being together every weekend at the tavern.  Can you honestly imagine 15-18 kids every weekend running around a tavern?  It was the best, but I digress.  As fun as the wake evening is (to see everyone and reminisce), the funeral day is crushingly sad because of the loss we all feel.  The loss of our loving aunt and the loss of being those carefree children.    I will miss her.

But another thing that this past week or so has shown me, is how important the fight for cancer is and how the fight must continue.  I have collected artwork to auction off at this year’s Discovery Ball in April.  16 artists, including myself, have donated just under $18,000 of artwork for the event.  I could not be more proud of the work collected.  In this journey I have realized that this is what I am really good at.  I really care about the artists I meet along this path and I am passionate about what they produce and why.  I am also good at business and have interlaced non-profit work throughout my life.  Curating for a cause just seems like a natural direction for me.  I am excited about artwork and just as excited about a good cause.

This blog is to canvas my path after graduation and I would like to curate auction galleries for fundraisers.  Artists have a voice and their voices can be shared to make great changes in this world.  Art should never just decorate a wall, it should always be an extension of the artist’s heart and mind.  It may not scream it’s intentions; often a whisper is just as strong.  We are taking steps forward…

What inspires you?

I recently had the good fortune of being away from this Chicago winter for 11 days over the Christmas and New Year holiday.  While I was giddy like a child at the thought of escaping the cold and snow; I was even giddier to heed my own holiday advice and be “in the moment” while travelling.  Anyone who has seen my artwork understands that color plays a major role in it as vehicle of communication as much as inspiration.  So it should be no surprise when I discovered that Chicago winters challenge my practice of art making.

We landed in Phoenix in the late afternoon and the sunshine was intense and much welcomed.  I forget how blue the sky can be when not seen through the mesh screens on my studio windows during the long winters.  Not to mention the longer time you can entertain looking at the sky when your hands, feet, and nose aren’t going numb from the cold.  Every morning in the dessert I would race out into the street that my parents live on, look up, and just “be”. It’s quite magical to let your environment wrap itself around you, take note of the things around you, and take note of your personal boundary space.  Many people feel the dessert is too brown, but the winters are when the landscape comes alive.  Prickly pears are ready for harvest, lemons and oranges are getting sweeter by the day, and the grass is green on the hills. 

The same holds true for Florida which is where I went after Phoenix.  I was lucky enough to procure tickets to the Outback Bowl in Tampa.  The bright colors of the Floridian homes, a more tropical sun, a deeper blue sky, but all that lush green made my mind flutter.  I discovered my mind expands and my senses become heightened when surrounded by the color green. 

I discovered, as I “canvas” through my post graduation life, that I need to be in live environments in order to do my work.  My work is directly related to the botanical world around me, which is currently asleep until May’ish.  I used to be able to lose myself in my photographs of flowers and plants and get inspired by them, however that doesn’t appear as easy any more.  Plein air painters rave about their experiences and I believe I have a clearer understanding of their argument; sans the whole having to pick bugs off your canvas and out of your paint. 

Am I alone in this feeling or do other artists require a particular environment to make work?  Is there a particular environment that you need to be most creative?