Stretching these wings…

What a journey it has been…

I am thrilled to be posting this news! It has been quite a journey to get me back to the studio. As we are all aware, some of the greatest artists in history as well as today, have to put down their brushes and tools to make other important contributions. I am no different. I was fortunate enough to work in a job that I adored with people that I miss every day to help support my family during our transition to the desert. However, even while working a great job, the studio never stopped calling me. I would steal any time I could in my creative space, even if just to meditate and dream. During that time I wanted to reach out to you but mostly felt ashamed that I had nothing creative to share.

During the past few years I have expressed myself creatively in photography. Social Media can be an amazing lifeline in order to keep tethered to a world of expressionism. I utilized my free time visiting with family, hiking in the desert, discovering wildlife, and inhaling the beauty of the Sonoran Desert that I live in. I’m grateful to own a camera that also happens to make cell phone calls. 🙂

Gratefully, I have been given the opportunity to return to my studio. I have a wonderful casita on the other side of our courtyard that has been converted to my studio and gallery. I have been going back through my photographs over the past few years and compiling a body of work that I am excited to complete and share.

If you received this email, it’s because I consider you a friend who has shown interest in my artwork or studio practice. I hope you will choose to continue receiving it each month. Your support during this left brain period has been greatly appreciated! Looking forward to sharing the interesting wildlife that is often seen in my yard as well as the stunning beauty of the Sonoran Desert with you. I have discovered that Scottsdale and Phoenix are amazing places for art and hope to share that with you as well.

Strelitzia WM

Strelitzia is the name for this exciting new series of work. I came across a large swath of bird of paradise blooms set against a cornflower blue sky a few months ago. My previous palette has been focused on a red/green compliment; however here in the desert the skies feature so many different shades of blue that it’s quite difficult to ignore. The blue against the fire orange petals popping through the bud like popcorn captured my heart and attention. This series will feature 16+ pieces in all, each 12″ x 12″. This first one will be included in the Sonoran Arts League’s Small Works show starting December 1st. As I paint them, I find that each one has it’s own personality that comes through. They currently look like a wall of family portraits and it makes me smile. Upon completion of the series, they will each be framed in dark wood and affordable enough to collect multiples of them to fit your space perfectly!

Live ‘out loud’…

These three little words have consumed my mind of late. What does it mean to live ‘out loud’? For me, I believe it involves living one’s true self and shining as you do it.

Now previously and still, I am a firm believer that each of us has a particular path that our life’s journey happens on. Many other people’s paths will interchange with ours for a little while or a long while. Someone’s path may run parallel with ours while others run perpendicular. Some paths we come across may bring us gifts and others we may leave something behind from our path in order to help someone else out. Sometimes we abandon our path all together because life asks something more from us. Regardless of where we stand today, the path of who we are is still there waiting for us to simply recall where it is. The funny thing is when you relocate it, you most often didn’t even know you were off it.

When I moved to Arizona I was excited about my envisioned path to artistic stardom! I was going to come here to the great Southwest, try to summon my beloved Georgia O’Keeffe, and sit in my studio to create a fascinating body of work that would go to galleries and get gobbled up by new collectors. I had done everything I needed to do to prepare for this big artistic moment! I had come out to the desert for years gathering resources of cactus blooms and funky agave portraits. My brightly colored artwork was going to make a big splash here and finally I was going to artistically belong.

“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns

The only thing that occurred in my big vision is that I moved to Arizona. I have a job doing financial work for a company I love but never even knew existed. Every artist grieves when they have to get a ‘real job’ because it always seems a step further away from our dreams. I try and get into my studio once a week to keep these creative juices from drying up. For some time, I must admit I was existing in the shadows of embarrassment that I was no longer who I wanted to be, but instead was being who I needed to be. I was emotionally drained of who I thought I wanted to be because to try and be an artist who doesn’t make artwork is about the most heartbreaking thing for me to go through.

One of my survival tools to endure this great change is that I try to practice appreciating the details of my experiences. This practice allows me to be still and absorb all that is around me. In the stillness of being, that’s when the good stuff happens. Have you ever walked into a coffee shop that, upon entering, feeds your soul and makes you feel like you have spent a lifetime there already; or met someone that unknowingly reconnects the bonds of who you are with their gentle words or a soul seeing glance, or opened yourself to the colors of a radiant sunset allowing your brain and soul to reconnect in the silence? It’s important to pay attention to these lightning rod moments, for they lead us back to our true paths.

Through this newfound stillness, I have recently been fortunate enough to recognize unique moments when something or someone becomes the key to opening my awareness or becomes the bridge that helps me get back to my true path. I have recently experienced this bridge which has reconnected me with an amazing version of myself that was put away a lifetime ago. Through this connection, I have been able to refamiliarize myself with my young soul that was bold, fearless, light in spirit, and full of curiosity. Thanks to this bridge, I have a sense of belonging that I have not had in the past 21 months here and even longer in life along with the sense that I am back on my true path. I am still tenderly and slowly walking on my path, not having felt it for a long while, and discovering more about myself every day.

For me personally, my path is where the small things lie. My path is not a quick one, instead it is one of discovery and learning. My path is listening to the small details that surround us in nature, acknowledging the vibrations from the things we often don’t see, and sharing my passionate appreciation of it all. On my path; colors are richer, breezes feel sharper, birds fly faster, and I want to dance slower. I have also noticed on my path I walk a little taller, smile a little easier, and hug a little harder. It’s as if all these great parts of me were strewn along the path when I walked off it, but I am grateful to reconnect with them.

I believe in this reflection, for me, living life “out loud” is celebrating every nuance that surrounds me in a moment and realizing how I was meant to be right here, right now.

Untitled….for now.

image

UPDATE:

June 3, 2011…Well, it’s a good thing it’s finished and named!  I am calling this QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT which is a terminology that a group of scientists including Albert Einstein initially wrote about.  An old friend of mine mentioned this phrase to me in an email just a short while ago and I started reading about it.  I believe flowers are all connected based on their genus.  We cannot control how far the same seeds will spread in our world.

This work is being included in the NAAC (Northwest Area Arts Council) Member Show which opens tonight at the Dole Mansion at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Drive, Crystal Lake, Illinois.  If you have never seen this show, you really must try.  There are a lot of members of this group and we are each allowed a piece to be included.  It should be a great big show and I’m very excited about being included.

The opening reception is tonight from 5-7:30pm and features appetizers, live music, and cocktails.  I’ll be there and hope you will too!  

Finished?!?!?!  As artists are we ever REALLY finished with a piece of artwork???  This image has adorned my wall as a resource for inspiration for years and my mind since September.  If Mother Nature won’t concede to Spring I shall create my own world!

This is one of my favorite compositions.  With the juxtaposition of the two blossoms…I’m not sure what they represent???

The Unbearable “Likeness” of Being

I know it has been quite a while since I have posted and, as always, I promise to be more diligent at doing so.  Perhaps even consider it a New Years resolution, if you believe in them.  While being away I have been experiencing something rather profound.

While finishing my Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, we learned of the many things artists have to do that are not artist related in order to survive.  While there, we were being surrounded by such incredible artworks from the museum that we only dream of being a part of someday. It can be rather easy to forget that these same people, who created this unforgettable and ageless body of work, ever had to exist in a time that lied in between these accomplishments.  However, each day we were lectured about how artists continually have to find other sources of income while trying to sell and make their artwork.  The 2010 labor statistics believe that 60% of workers in the arts are self-employed with many of them working non-art related jobs to supplement their incomes.  All artists will acknowledge that it is true suffering to have to perform non-art related jobs.  Mostly I believe it involves a deep fear that to stop creating artwork will mean we forget how, lose our touch, or lose our forward movement to put our artwork out into the world.

Milan Kundera wrote “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” in 1984.  While the title also refers to love and sex, I believe it also contains a philosophical undercurrent pertaining to the awareness that our lives only happen once and therefore the act of being can become unbearable.  This is true of the artist who works in non-artistic fields for a primary living.

Recently I have received emails from a couple of fellow art students that I hadn’t heard from in a very long time.  Each of them wrote of their current life situation. One wrote to share her story of her need to work as a means of family survival while considering another career path in the medical industry and the other wrote to me as a way to vent out his feelings with the uncertainty that it would be read in its entirety by me because he felt I wouldn’t be interested.  The emails describe their personal disappointment in the fact that they are not creating finished artwork daily (as we did in school) and how much they have taken ownership of this disappointment to their own emotional detriment.  While these two friends of mine (who graduated with me) live in very different regions of the country and do very different artwork with very different views about their work; the commonalities in their emails were exactly the same in detail.  Topics shared included their frustrations with the inability to put their feelings and views on the world into something creative, their sense of failure in not using their hard earned degrees in their current primary career, and the fear that their future will not contain a sufficient amount of time for their artwork.

I, too, have been working in other areas than my artwork with the same struggles. I have relocated to a different state and have been trying to adjust to the various changes in my life and lifestyle.  Having my collegues put words to their “suffering” made me witness my own, like looking into a mirror.   I found myself responding to their emails in somewhat the same way. In my responses I discovered that we were sharing in that profound survival mode, one that we were lectured on but naively never thought we’d actually participate in. 

I never felt as though art school prepared me for the business world of art.  However, looking from this side of that academic experience, I see that they did help me achieve an ego about being able to make artwork for a living and accomplish anything I wanted in the art community.  This ego is the double edged sword that allows artists to put forth their artwork, but also acts as the cement shoes that weigh us down when we have to resort to non-art work to survive.

 I found myself replying to their communications by reminding them that being an artist is about so much more than just creating artwork. Being an artist is also about sharing a particular view of the world.  I believe we look at common things with an uncommon eye.  We feel emotional impulses from objects, ideas, inspirations.  I don’t believe that just because we happen to have a job as a counselor, waitress, customer service rep, or assistant that we lose our ability to see and feel the world as we artists do. 

Yes, we live this particular life only once.  However, we do live for a lifetime in which we create a lifetime of artwork.  For some that may be 10,000 pieces of artwork and for others it may mean 3.  The important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself while surviving your life, embrace your artistic self in all that do (art and non-art related), and do something creative each day even if it’s cooking something different or taking a photograph with your smartphone.

There is an unbearable lightness or likeness of being an artist, but the defining moment is how you choose to allow it to define you.