Sunday, June 28, 2009

Countdown to Fall Art Crawl begins

I've been busy painting lately... mostly just painting for the love of it and painting things I love...lots of poppies. But this past week, I started working on a piece to submit for the fall art crawl poster competition. The deadline for entering is tomorrow! I know...I always think I'm going to be ready for these things way before they are due, but it never happens. There is something about working up to a deadline that gets my creative juices flowing, I guess!

Actually, I've been a little on the fence about entering the fall poster competition. First off, life has been a little busy lately (but isn't it always). Second, I've entered this competition before with no success. I don't necessarily expect success, but rejection isn't my favorite thing either.

Then there is the whole painful process
(for me) of creating something with certain specifications for a competition. Like many artists, I like creating what I like, what I'm passionate about. I don't what art to become a popularity contest. And yet, there is that aspect to making art, especially when you are trying to be more visible as an artist, that is about getting your art seen and well, liked. Ugh.

In the end, I created a painting that is part of a series I started many months ago. I intended to do another larger piece in this series, so this seemed like the time to do it. I could have entered 3 different pieces, but this time, I entered just one. Be what it may, I can say I participated.

So tonight I had to write an artist statement as part of my registration. Why didn't they ever teach you how to do that in art class? I love writing, but find it hard to write about my art. Here's what I came up with (let me know what you think):

My journey as an artist began when I was a young girl looking at a print of a Renoir I looked at the print I thought to myself, “I want to do that...I want to paint.” If only it was that simple to realize our dreams

Pursuing my dream of being an artist has taken many twists and turns. Along the way, I have been a student, wife, single mom, and in the working world, a social worker. The passion to be an artist has remained. One way or another, I have always made art.

Recently my life has changed in such a way as to allow me to pursue my dream of being an artist with renewed focus and purpose. I now have a studio in Lowertown St. Paul and live in one of the artist co-operatives.

My artwork explores many subject matters and themes, often drawing from my life experiences. Through my art I look at what is hard in life and what brings us beauty. I explore relationships and the forces that keep us going. I enjoy using intense color and hope my work reflects passion and energy. I primarily work with acrylics on canvas, but have begun doing some mixed media work as well.

This painting of two birch trees demonstrates my use of color and explores the theme of relationships. For me, these two birch trees, leaning against one another and then stretching off into different directions are like a couple. At the base, they are strong together...but they are also independent of one another and branch off in different directions. In fact, it is that support of one another, that allows them to pursue their own dreams.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank you

to my husband, Joel, for installing the air conditioner in the Jax studio!
Now I'll be able to paint all summer long in comfort!

(Thanks too for getting my window garden boxes installed and helping to move one of my kids...again!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday, Monday...

the studio...where I'd rather be

The hardest day of the week. Hands down. It's the day when I head back to work and struggle to switch my focus from what I've been working on in the studio to my 9-5 job as a social worker.

It's not that I dislike my job. I work for a great agency alongside great people. While I don't get paid well (it could almost be called volunteering), I do get an incredible amount of time off (4 weeks vacation, 3 weeks personal, 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week for spring break) you can see this job, since I need to have a job, fits well. I get plenty of time off to work on my art. Plus, I value what I do...helping others.

That said, it's hard sometimes focusing on work when my head is really still at the studio. Mondays are definitely the hardest. I keep thinking of what I was working on during the weekend and would rather still be working on.

I always think that I will spend weekday evenings at the studio, but it doesn't happen as often as I would like. After a day spent dealing with other people's issues, I just sometimes want to veg in front of the t.v.

So like a great number of other artists, I keep juggling outside work with studio time.

I guess it's a good problem to have.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just because...

I thought I would share this pic of these lovely peonies sitting on my table, just because:

  • It's Monday
  • I didn't sleep well last night and I'm too tired to do much more
  • I need a little inspiration and beauty on a tired day like today. Maybe you do too.
  • You can also catch a glimpse of my new table and newly purchased, but weathered chairs...and how lovely it all looks against my plum walls
  • Peonies were our wedding flowers and we just celebrated our anniversary
  • Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. I love their deep colors in the pink/magenta family and how they open up in such a wondrous way
I hope you have some peonies of your own to enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Painting and planting

Works In Progress

It's been a darn near perfect Sunday.
Late in the morning I headed out to the studio, with a cruise through the Farmer's Market in mind...mostly to take some pics. On my way down, I saw a sign up in our elevator inviting Tilsner residents to meet in the back later in the day to do some gardening.

That's all the invitation I needed. As I strolled through the Farmer's Market, I couldn't resist buying a few flowers to plant.

After buying the flowers, I headed to the studio to continue working on the small paintings I started on Saturday. Summer, sunlight, flowers all around...definitely having an influence on the work I'm doing. I'm loving the brightness of orange, a light yellow green and magenta.

And then after painting flowers, I spent a few hours planting them. Actually more time was spent weeding than planting. Tilsner residents (along with folks at the Northern next door) tend to some green space behind our building. I am thrilled to have a place to do some gardening again.

Painting and planting...two of my passions (and great therapy as well).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Urban living at its best

The Men rounding the corner by Lowertown

The women racers near the beginning of their race

Another shot of the ladies

Waiting for the racers--this is a shot of the Lowertown Commons building, our old apartment

Leaders of the men's race, during the final laps of their race

Living in an urban area offers plenty of entertainment. Throughout the summer we can watch the barges moving down the Mississippi river (a sight we can see from our apartment windows). Mears Park, just a few blocks away, has live bands performing once a week and later in the summer the music will be followed by outdoor movies. Next weekend Mears will host a jazz festival. And every weekend we get to enjoy the Farmer's Market just down the street.

This past week offered up a cycling race that took place on our city streets. The Minnesota Bicycle Festival is a five stage race that takes place over 5 days in five different venues. The first stage occured this past Wednesday night in Lowertown St. Paul...the cyclists raced around Mears Park and down around the Farmer's Market. There was both a men's and women's event. Both races lasted about an hour.

The weather was perfect this year. It's hard not to get caught up in the race, especially when it's happening outside your door! It was an awesome opportunity to take pictures.

This week has been one of those weeks when I know I'm lucky living where I do...there's so much life happening all around me.

(I posted a short video from the race here)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Finding my groove

Flowers...always a source of inspiration

Today, for the first time in 6 weeks, I spent some time in my Jax studio. I have not spent more than 5 minutes there since the spring Art Crawl in April! May was spent painting walls, not canvases. And even though our new place is far from settled, finding spending some time in the studio was a goal this weekend.

I know that life gets in the way, but it saddens me that studio time has been lacking for so long. Along with moving, some family issues (motherly duties) have taken priority of late. Sometimes I feel that balancing time for family and time for artwork has not gotten that much easier over the years. But that's a post for another day.

Late this afternoon, I finally managed to head over to the studio. My head has been throbbing with a headache all day, but that was not going to stop me.

It felt good to step into the studio all by myself. I love being alone in the studio. Honestly, I love being alone sometimes...I need that time to recharge...and hanging out in the studio, painting, listening to the perfect way for me to find my balance.

My side of the studio (my husband has one half) was still set up and all pretty from the Art Crawl. It looks so nice when it's all cleaned up, but it can't stay that way if I'm going to get any work done. So I put on some music (Norah Jones & Dixie Chicks) and started "messing" things up.

I pulled back the pretty tablecloth from the table/shelf that holds the bulk of my canvases. I took in the sight of all those canvases...most blank, but some in progress. It started coming back to me...all that work I was moving along on just before the Crawl. I was really getting into a groove then.

While I know that work is not exactly lost, I'm not exactly there right now either. I have to find my "groove" again. I have to find my way back to the work. It's hard to explain...

I started the way I often do after an "absence"...I pulled out some new blank canvas, some gesso and started preparing the canvas for painting. Although I buy pre-stretched canvas already "primed", I still apply a layer of's part of my painting ritual...while applying the gesso, I imagine the painting I am about to start creating...and my excitement for starting the process grows.

So I applied some gesso, laid down some background color. It's a beginning.

I'm getting my groove back.