Thursday, August 28, 2008

The end of summer

It's the end of summer and a little busy.

First off, it's State Fair time. I've made three visits thus far and have, of course, made three visits to the Fine Arts Building. I always go to the Fine Arts exhibit and just because I didn't make the show this year has no bearing on that. In fact, I figure taking in the show is a good opportunity to see what type of work was accepted--maybe help me with a strategy for next year. There is a wide variety of work at the fair, featuring many different styles and mediums. I did note some common themes or subject matter at the Fair this year. There were several pieces depicting the bridge collapse. Landscapes and still lifes are popular subject matters. Birds are frequently featured. Not a whole lot of abstract-type figures like my painting. It is a family show after all.

This week has been our Annual Training Week at work. For those who don't know, my day job is working as a social worker at a therapeutic preschool. My agency works with families who are at risk for abuse or neglect (and the family must include children under the age of 5). I work with the parents, making visits to the home to provide parenting support and education. Visiting families in their homes, where families are struggling with poverty and high crime rates in their neighborhoods...well, it isn't easy, but it's something that is important to me. I enjoy the work that I has meaning/purpose. I work with great people. I enjoy working with the kids and moms and dads that are my "clients". I hope that I help make their lives a little easier.

And doing this work, at the place that I'm doing it at (Southside Family Nurturing Center) fits my life right now and is allowing me the time to work on my art. We get a ridiculous amount of time off. That is time I can spend in the studio. Making art is meaningful to me. So is the work that I do at Southside. And that makes me very happy with my life.

So our long weekend at Southside started after work today. I am taking next week part because I don't want to deal with the hassle of coming/going to St. Paul/Mpls during this Republican Convention just down the road.

But first, I am enjoying a visit with my best friend and fellow artist, Julie. Julie's in town because one of her pieces is in an exhibit at the MN Textile Center. Today we stopped by to check on the installation of her piece. It is beautiful. Then later we took a drive out to Hopkins to see my painting. I have to admit that today, with fewer people (well, only us) in the gallery, my painting looked much felt like it had more run to breathe.

It was interesting having Julie to talk to about the feelings you experience as an artist when you walk into a gallery and see your work displayed. I walked into the Hopkins Art Center and was immediately disappointed with the location/specifics of how my painting was hung. Similarly, Julie walked in and saw that her piece needed to be adjusted. It's hard not to feel protective towards your work. After all, you know the work best and want it to be seen in the best possible light.

So, I'm going to enjoy these last few days of summer. And I'll be back in my studio shortly.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back from the show

First of all, the overall quality of the show is outstanding. I walked through the show and thought--"This didn't make it in the State Fair?" There were 225 pieces in the Overflow show--just a fraction of the pieces that were submitted to the fair competition and not accepted. Seeing all the work tonight helped me realize just how tough the competition for the State Fair show is.

That being said, there were a few things that disappointed me. I expected that beside each artwork, there would be something that told you the artist's name and the title of the work. Instead, each piece is identified by a number. You then consult a piece of paper to learn who the artist is...

And I have to admit I was not all that happy with where my painting was hanging. The location (near the back of the lower gallery) wasn't the greatest, but I wasn't expecting the premier spot. The small room that it was in was small and very crowded. The biggest thing was that it was not hung at eye level. It was hung much lower with a photograph hung above that was not related in subject matter at all. Oh well, what are you going to do?

But I can say that my painting was hung by the painting with the highest price tag on it--$10,ooo. (Believe me, not happening).

There were quite a few people at the opening reception. So many that I felt too shy to have my picture taken beside my painting. I guess I'll have to sneak back another time.

Juggling canvases

Woke up early this morning--thanks to the cat and the blinds being open. After eating breakfast, I decided to head to the studio to get some painting in while it was still cool.

In an hour's time, I finished work on 4 paintings--or one painting, depending on how you look at it. I finished a set of four 8 x 10 paintings that are meant to be one painting. There are part of my "River" series and the abstract design flows from one canvas to the other. Now that they are finished I need to figure out how to frame them. I have some mounting them on a canvas board that will be painted to echo the paintings' imagery. Pics to follow.

I continued work on another painting in the Womanspirit series. It's nice to have more than one series of paintings to work on. The more I have going, the more my creative juices seem to flow. And if I get stuck on one painting I can just juggle canvases and work on something else.

And after a trip to the Farmer's Market, I have ideas for another series. I bought some eggplants and peppers, took them over to the studio and shot some pics. I have plans for a couple of paintings featuring those veggies. Funny thing is, I don't eat eggplants or peppers--I don't like either, but I love their colors and shapes.

In a few hours, Joel and I are heading to the opening reception for the Salon 300: State Fair Overflow Show.

Again, pics to follow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Studio time

Weekend is winding down...too soon. I spent time in the studio this weekend...working on about 4 different projects. I enjoy going over there, jamming to some music, and painting like crazy. It's hard going back to work on Monday and losing that momentum that I get going over the weekend. I always think that I'll head over there in the evening, but it doesn't happen as often as I'd like...I'm too tired, it's too hot, I'm just done for the day.

So I am trying to think of ways to get that time maybe work at the studio in the early morning for an hour or least a couple days per week. I think it's the kind of thing that I have to actually write in my day planner.

It's worth a try.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Moving forward

Things keep moving many good ways.

Friday afternoon I left work early to go pick up my painting at the fairgrounds. It was a bit bittersweet picking it up--before it was seen by anyone but the judges. But since I picked it up my painting on the first day, there were still submission forms for an exhibit at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Each year the Hopkins Center for the Arts invites the artists who were not selected for the State Fair show to exhibit the same piece of artwork at an exhibition titled "Salon 300: State Fair Overflow Show". A limited number of spaces are available and it's basically first come, first served.

My friend, Julie, called it the "Underdog Show". I like that.

At first I thought this wouldn't be something I'd be interested in. But on the way home from the fairgrounds, I thought--why not? The painting was ready to go. I had the form. And my painting would be exhibited and still seen by the public. Maybe not as many folks, but who knows...maybe it will lead to other opportunities I don't even know about yet.

I got home and had a package waiting for me. My business cards arrived--I only ordered them on Sunday! I ripped open the package and was thrilled. On the left side of the card is a photo of one of my paintings (the same one on the upper right side of this blog above "About Me"). I'm very happy with how they look.

The business cards came as a timely reminder that I am still moving forward and doing more with my art. There will be disappointments along the way, but I am still moving forward.

So Date Night included a trip out to Hopkins to drop off my painting. The lady that received it was so nice and made me feel good about bringing it in. Maybe she's been in my shoes.

The show opens with a reception next Saturday evening from 6-8 pm. I can't wait to see it there. The exhibit is up through August 31st.

I'll be making a few trips to Hopkins the second half of August. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's Not Easy...

So I'm bringing you a little ditty courtesy of YouTube, and Kermit, of course. He may be a muppet, but I still think this song touches your heart...and today it fits.

Sometimes it's not easy being true to yourself and to keep doing what you love to do. Sometimes I feel like I create my art in a vacuum. But I was talking to my husband and best friend last night...processing the whole State Fair competition and "marketing my art"...and I know that I am creating art that is true to who I am. And I will keep on doing that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I just came back from a visit with a client and after eating a quick lunch, checked my e-mail. There it was--the e-mail regarding the State Fair competition. I had talked to a friend about getting that e-mail and the dread/anxiety I would feel before opening it. I said that I wished they would just tell you whether you were a "winner" or a "loser" right in the subject line...and they pretty much did. The subject line stated "MSF-Non-accepted Work".

So there you have it. Rejection letters are so cold, impersonal. They offer no feedback, no hope...because they're basically a form letter sent out to all the losers. You don't know if you were tossed aside right off the bat or if the judges labored over the decision.

And probably that wouldn't help you feel any better (it might help you with future entries however).

So today, I'll give myself a little time to mope and lick my wounds. And maybe spend a little time at the studio.

There's always next year...

Sunday, August 3, 2008


So Saturday was the big day...I delivered my painting to the Fine Arts Building at the State Fairgrounds to be judged for the annual competition. I finished the framing late, late Thursday night. I was o.k. with the's definitely something I will get better at.

My daughter went with me to drop it off. I was a little excited and a whole lot nervous. There was a steady flow of artists dropping off their work, but the whole process only took about 5 minutes. As I handed over my painting, I wanted to rub it and wish it luck or something. I also wanted to size up the competition, but that wasn't really possible.

I don't know why this is so important to me. I mean any Minnesotan can enter. But I have always dreamed of just entering the competition. I always thought the process would be more difficult, but that part isn't hard at all. I guess there are a few reasons this is important to me. I LOVE the state fair. Anyone who knows me, knows that. And every year, I make my way to the Fine Arts building to check out the exhibit. Heck, I usually make multipe trips to the fair each year and every visit includes a stop at the Fine Arts exhibit. I admire the work, find a few favorites...and imagine having one of my pieces hang on those walls someday being admired by others.

Maybe this year...

I should know no later than Thursday and while I'm glad there is such fast turnaround, it's also going to be very hard to focus on other things. The news will come in an e-mail. I get nauseous just thinking about opening that one.

But I've accomplished this first goal. And I do feel good about that.