Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hello...and Good-bye...

I'll admit that I've sort of fallen off the blogging bandwagon. There are the usual excuses...spending more time painting (definitely a good thing), too busy with life, and so on. But I've also been taking some time to re-focus, think about how I want to spend my creative energy and also how to best present myself professionally.

So I've made some changes. I've been working on my website--cleaning up and polishing it's look  to present (hopefully) a more professional image. Along those lines, I've decided to drop the "created by risa" logo/branding and now you can simply find my website at :  I've struggled with this one since I've created my website. My reasoning in going with created by risa was that Tritabaugh is not an easy name to spell. But what I have observed time and time again is that professional artists nearly always use their name as their website address. After all, eventually you want to develop name recognition. And so, the change has been made.

Over time I will make other changes, so that things will be more cohesive. Soon I will be eliminating my created by risa Facebook page and have in its place created my Risa Tritabaugh - Artist Facebook page.  I hope you will follow me there!

And one of my biggest changes will occur right here...I've decided to discontinue this created by risa blog and start blogging right at my website.  It makes sense on different levels--1) It will save me some time and energy that I can better use painting; and 2) It will hopefully draw more attention to my website.

My focus will still be my art, my creative process and inspirations. I will focus a little less on personal life issues and will go back to writing about the more personal side of life at my very first blog--The Assorted Adventures of a Middle-Aged Urbanite. (You can follow me there to stay in the loop. I'll try to write more frequently. Keyword: Try) 

I have very much enjoyed writing this blog and I hope you will continue to follow me over at my website. It is, as always, a work in progress. 

Thank you for following along on my journey as an artist. It is in no way over...I'm just starting a new chapter.

Au revoir.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Today in the Studio

Spending more time in the studio this week and it feels good.  I have been surrounding myself with all sorts of inspiration...hoping that the inspiration will then show itself in the studio. I am trying something a little different--just allowing myself to experiment, try different stuff and not worry so much about the finished product.

I'll admit it--that last part is hard for me. 

I want whatever I work on to look good. And it's not that I'm so set on creating something's not that at all, but right now I'm just trying to focus on the process, learn some things and hopefully, find some new techniques that I will love.

It is definitely a work in progress. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nourishing my creative soul

Since I've been trying to nourish my creative soul and Friday was my only free day of this holiday weekend (working the rest of it at the museum), I decided to enjoy a day trip to Hudson, Wisconsin on Friday. Our first stop was The Phipps Center for the Arts.  These first photos are of work by fiber art students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. .

I also wanted to check out the Phipps galleries to see the work of former Tilsner artist, Jill Van Sickle.  Beautiful, as always.

Following our visit to the Phipps, we visited several other shops in Hudson and then made our way across the river (and state lines) to Stillwater--where we also visited several galleries and shops. We wrapped up our trip with a drive to Marine on St. Croix--another town I love. Of course, we drove through the Jackson Meadow community just outside of town...which always inspires me. 

As an artist, it's always important to nourish my creative soul. Honestly, I think we all need to do that on a daily basis. I do it many ways, often without much thought. But when I find myself in a slump, creatively or otherwise, I try to pay more attention to filling my "creative bank". 

Often that can be as simple as visiting places where I find beauty--a favorite gallery/museum, a garden in full bloom, or spending time with family and friends.

I'm starting to feel my creative spark coming back. I'm starting to think about more projects and dream of new paintings. My task this coming week will be to clean and organize my studio...I think that alone will open up some creative energy!

I'll try to have new pictures of my working space soon (there's a challenge!) 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting back to work...

I'm not quite sure where the month of May has's been a rather odd, not exactly spring-like. I've been busy recovering from participating not only in the St. Paul Art Crawl, but another one day crawl in mid-May. Both crawls required a great deal of my time and energy and pulled me away from working on new stuff in the studio. 

It's time to get back to work.

It has also been a discouraging month. The Art Crawls were good avenues for sharing my work and getting feedback from others, but didn't net much in the way of sales.  And then there was the disappointment of the grant opportunity. Along with all that, I've been dealing with the difficult realities of being laid off for a year. Sometimes it feels as if life just won't right itself.

But what I know serves me best in difficult times is painting, creating.

And it's time to get back to work (in the studio).

I have been using this time to think about about what direction I want my work to go in. Ideas are swirling around in my head, but not making it onto canvas (yet). I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, but fear and feelings of being stuck and discouraged are keeping me from getting started.  

Sometimes it's hardest just to get started.

 So my goal this coming month is to spend lots of time in the studio working and getting things started.

As always, I' ll let you know how things go along the way. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

At the Egg and I...

Today I switched out my art at the Egg and I restaurant located in Minneapolis (at 28th and Lyndale). The lighting wasn't the greatest for pics, but I snapped a few before I left. 

The show will be up till the end of May. Stop by and enjoy a killer breakfast while also enjoying my art. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Email Update

Well, the anxiously awaited email did NOT arrive on Thursday. It did not, in fact, arrive until the dinner hour today! Since I was out on a Date Night with my Honey, I did not receive the news till late this evening.

The news was not favorable. I did not make the cut. Only 51 (not 100) finalists were selected. About 32 of those will be awarded grants.  I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a friend who's a finalist!

I'm still in the allowed "feeling lousy" phase. I've had a good, long cry and I'm starting to feel a little better.
I know, in my head, that's it's silly to let my self-worth as an artist be determined by a panel of folks who have never even seen my work. And I know this was super-competitive. But just like everyone else who applied my hopes were high and my ego just got bruised a bit.

And yes, I have already placed that consolation order to Dick Blick.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Waiting on an Email....

Today's the day the BIG email comes letting me know whether or not I'm a finalist for the MRAC Next Step Grant. I applied for the grant back in March. (It's an individual artist grant totaling $5000). 

It's hard, really hard, not to just sit by the computer watching for a new email to pop up. I'm sort of failing at that right now. I'm sitting here, watching a House marathon while also watching my in-box. Every time a new email comes in, my heart skips a beat, and then my heart drops as I realize it's not THAT email.

370 artists (of various mediums--visual artists, writers, performers, musicians...) applied for this grant. About 100 applicants will be selected as finalists. Finalists will then have a week to submit work samples (not needed for the initial application). And then approximately 32 of the 100 finalists will be awarded a Next Step grant. That announcement won't come till the end of June.

Obviously a lot of talented folks submitted a grant application, so I'm prepared for the very real possibility of not making the finalist cut. If I'm out of the running, I will give myself a day to feel lousy and then move on. Actually, I also plan to put in a large Dick Blick order, because grant or no grant I am still a working artist (a starving artist, but a working artist nonetheless).

Stay tuned for an update tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring 2011 Art Crawl

the view into the studio from the doorway

art just outside the studio

A few days have past since this past weekend's Art Crawl. For those of you who couldn't make it, I thought I would give a little mini-tour of my home studio space as set up for the Crawl. Welcome.

Furniture was rearranged (and put away) to make our home feel more like a gallery. This was the first time I've shown my work in our new space, so much work was done to prepare the space (including painting our outer door and entryway).  Many visitors were wowed by our space--especially with the huge brick wall and all the light pouring in through the floor to ceiling windows (even on a cold gray day like we had this past weekend).

Most artists, myself no exception, prefer to work on their art in isolation. Sometimes it's a good thing to peek your head outside the studio and see what others think. The Art Crawl provides me with that opportunity to share my work with others. It's a great time to talk about my work, talk about my process and what I'm working on...and get a feed on what people think about my work. It's exhausting and energizing all at the same time.

I had new, as well as older pieces to share. There was a lot of interest and positive feedback about a number of pieces...and that definitely felt good. 

With the Crawl over, I'm enjoying a few days in recovery mode--resting and relaxing--before I start getting ready for another show in a few weeks. This show will be at an outside studio and will be a one-day event, so a bit easier to do. 

And sometime in between all that, I hope to clean & organize my studio and start working on some new pieces.  So much for resting and relaxing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Day Away, A Haircut, and Crawl

Life has certainly been a juggling act lately, with not nearly enough time for working in the studio. I try really hard to spend those days I'm not working or busy with outside appointments in the studio...but sometimes a day away refuels the creative fire more than anything else can.

Last week I had a day just like that. I left home in the morning and didn't make it home till bedtime. It was a day spent with artsy friends and even time all to myself. I had time to catch my breath, treat myself just a little and just enjoy being away from the pressures of life in general. It was the kind of escape we all need once in a while.

I started off the morning by meeting with my mentor, Brenna Busse, to take a trip to Circa Gallery in downtown Minneapolis to check out the Barbara Gilhooly show that is there till the end of this month. Barbara was a Lowertown artist (she moved this past summer) that still exhibits locally. I love her work and this show was inspiring--to both Brenna and myself. For one thing, I was just amazed by how productive she is as an artist. A large chunk of the exhibit included 100 6x6 paintings--all completed this winter, I believe. Even if they were small--that's a lot of work. They were painted on birch wood panels. Part of what I liked about them was how she built layers upon layers of color, carved into the wood and even used sandpaper to reveal multiple layers of paint. 

Seeing a show like that makes you want to run right home, lock yourself in the studio and get busy. But then I remembered ... this was my day.

I said good-bye to Brenna and made a call to see if I could make an afternoon appointment for a hair cut. I've been dreaming of a new cut for a couple of weeks. I felt the need to get rid of some hair. Really. On so many levels, I just needed to get it cut off. It felt too long, too bushy, too everything. And I felt like a new hairdo would put me in a spring-sort of mood. I've just had enough of  snow and winter (I had to wipe snow off my windshield that very morning, damnit) and even if it didn't look like spring outside, I needed to feel like it inside. And hooray, I got an appointment with a new person who finally gave me the short haircut that I've been wanting to get for the past year (there were several failed attempts). I left the salon feeling like a new woman. I got my sassy back.

From there I met up with one of my WARM buddies...we hung out, talked art until it was time to go to our very first Critical Response for two of our fellow Protegees. I think I will write about this more in-depth at a later date, but basically it is a process developed by dancer Liz Lerman for artists to give one another feedback about their work that supports the artist rather than tear them down. (I do not have fond memories of critiques in college many years ago). It was an interesting experience. It definitely felt good to connect with other artists and experience a "critique" that could be both supportive and informative. 

It's been several days now, but the experiences of this one day are still swimming around in my head. I want to spend time in the studio and work on the projects in my head...and while I have done some painting, what I'm really focused on is getting things ready for the Art Crawl. Bigger projects will have to wait, cause the Crawl is next weekend!

I'm not quite sure how it's all going to come together, but I just keep going. I've made my lists, keep finishing things on those lists, and know that somehow it will all get done (more or less) and I'll be ready for another Crawl.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Waiting on Spring

This past winter I've become a bit of a blogging slacker. It's been a tough winter on several fronts. Weather wise, it's been one of the snowiest, coldest winters we've endured in several years. Besides all that, I've been juggling ongoing changes/transitions in my life...we're still settling into our new loft and I'm still adjusting to my new part-time gig at the nearby Science Museum . 

The doldrums of winter have worn me down, but things are starting to look up. For a little bit this past week, it actually felt like spring had arrived. It was so hot and humid last Sunday that I was ready to get a new spring hairdo! But alas, snow has found it's way in the forecast one more time...enough already!

It's been hard to get motivated, but as I said, things are looking up! Last week I enjoyed one of those magical days when everything just seemed to go right! I needed one of those days to get me moving in a more positive direction! 

On Thursday last week, I had an appointment with the owner of the Artist Mercantile for a studio visit to check out my work. The Artist Mercantile, located in downtown St. Paul,  features an eclectic mix of gifts, as well as the work of local artists. To make a long story short, the Artist Mercantile is now featuring some of my smaller paintings, including the work pictured above. I was very excited today to deliver these paintings today! I can't wait to take a walk downtown to take a peek at my work in the window!

The same day I was getting ready for this studio visit I received a phone call from the Mpls' Egg and I about showing my work in their restaurant. Nearly a year ago, on a lunch date with my co-workers, I got my name on their list of artists to show work. I was actually there for our final team get-together before my layoff took affect. We were actually in very silly moods, had a great time and I wrote a thank you to our server on the back of one of my postcards. She invited me to get on the list of artists willing to show their work...and so I did. Recently I've wondered if I would hear from them and had come to the conclusion that they had lost my info. And then wham, I got the call!

Originally, I was invited to be their May artist, but when the April artist failed to show I agreed to come in early. So on Tuesday, I hung some work at the Egg and I (2828 Lyndale Ave S, Mpls). They are an awesome breakfast joint, so I suggest you go down there and enjoy the kamikaze pancakes (while also enjoying my art)!

And there's more! I've gone from a relatively quiet time on the art front to super busy in the blink of the eye. I have the St. Paul Spring Art Crawl in two weeks at my home studio. And then in May, I'm participating in a one-day crawl in south Mpls (see the sidebar for details). Of course, all these events are motivating me to get busy in the studio...which is really the best cure there is for the winter doldrums.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring, please!

Spring is coming here oh so's like she's dipping her toe in, testing the waters. C'mon already! 

Here in St. Paul, spring has brought the rising waters of the nearby Mississippi...the back entry of our building has been sandbagged shut for over a week now. I have actually been thankful for the colder temps this past week--it kept the flooding to a manageable level. But I am done...I need sun, warmth, the sight of trees budding and flowers trying to make their way up through the earth.

Winter has had its grip on us long enough!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day trip to Hudson!

My friend, Julie, was here in Minnesota about two weeks ago for a visit...a visit that included lots of great conversation, good food, and artsy fun! We kicked things off by taking in the opening reception for the Textile Center's Figuratively Fiber show. Julie had a piece in the show--that beautiful, vibrant piece you see through the window. The show is up until April 16th, so if you're local you might want to check it out. (You can even see Julie's piece from the street as you drive by on University Avenue). Here's a detail pic of Julie's piece.

The piece is titled For Pele: Playing with Fire. She wrote about it here. I may be a bit biased, but this is my favorite piece in the show. Really, it's one of my favorite pieces of Julie's--I love all that vibrant color!

We also made a quick trip to the town of Hudson, Wisconsin. I love this town. Not too small, not too big...and it has a very vibrant art scene. Our first stop was at the Phipps Art Center. Currently (thru April 3rd) their galleries feature the work of six different artists. I fell in love with these mixed media pieces created by artist Daphnae Koop. They were created using repurposed wood and glass. Incredible.

And then there were these whimsical pieces by Susan Feigenbaum. Pictured below is both sides of this fun piece.

We wrapped up our trip to Seasons on St. Croix Gallery in downtown Hudson. This place is a goldmine--filled with light that shows off all the fantastic artwork. It's a nice mix of gallery and retail space. I like that they generally have a little show on one side (either featuring an artist or a themed-show; currently the show features artwork with a "food" theme). They also feature works in several mediums--painting, fiber, glass, ceramics. They even have glass and ceramic studios on site--sometimes you can see artists at work!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small paintings

Some days I just feel like painting small pieces. I worry sometimes that it's a waste of time, but I enjoy doing them. They may start out as studies for larger pieces, but more often than not, they are paintings all on their own. Working on them is a form of meditation. I can hold the piece in my hand, think about things like color and composition, and just forget the rest of the world.

I am thinking of opening our new space for April's Lowertown First Friday and featuring my collection of small paintings. This event is scheduled for Friday, April 1st: 6-9 pm. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I'm moving about as slow as this turtle these days. It's quite gray outside and we are still talking snowpack and windchills here. 

But I think the real reason for my malaise is a bad case of "post-grant-itis". Yes, I did get my very first artist grant submitted! It was a relatively easy grant proposal (in comparison to others that I've heard about!). Still it required my dedicated attention for several days. It was all completed via an online submission process (quite easy actually). When I finally hit the "submit" button late Tuesday night, the sense of relieve I anticipated was more like an "OMG! What now?"

The truth is, I can do nothing but wait.  Wait for some news on whether or not I make it to the finalist round for the grant (It will be a 4-6 week wait. I submitted it with NO expectations, but keeping my fingers crossed anyways.)

And wait for spring. She's slow in coming this year. We've made it to the #7 snowiest winter of all time (for our area). Whoopee. I'm not looking for any records to be broken. I'm already anticipating flooding (again). We actually need spring to come rather slowly, but I think everyone is getting a little antsy.

And best of all, my shortest wait is for my dear friend, Julie to come for a visit this weekend! She has one of her pieces in the Textile Center's Figuratively Fiber show opening this Friday! 

So for all of you waiting for spring as I am, I'll share pics from a visit I took a few weeks ago to the Como Conservatory. It was wonderfully warm and moist (I could feel my hair curl up and frizz). And luciously green. Plus there was a little surprise at the end.

Are you ready for the surprise? As I rounded the last corner, heading to the exit door, I looked up and saw this: 

He didn't move a bit!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Temporality: Opening Reception

B3 in front of T's encaustic piece

I had a great time Friday evening at the opening reception for the Temporality exhibit. The best part was celebrating the evening with my fellow protegees: here we are above trying to compose ourselves for a group shot!

The exhibit space (at the Grain Belt Bottling House which is now home to artist studios) is huge! There was art up on the second floor as well!

And after the reception, hubby and I were off to a screening of MCAD student senior film's projects. My hubby had the most screen time--appearing in three (or was it four?) films. More great fun seeing my hubby on the big screen. 

Definitely a night we both got to enjoy  "living the dream" for a bit.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Time is On Her Side / Debra Roisnestad

I'll be taking a bit of a break from grant writing this evening to attend the opening reception for the WARM member show. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the work of 65 talented Minnesota women artists. Here are the details:

Temporality Opening Reception

Friday, March 4th
5 - 8 p.m.

Grain Belt Bottling House
79 13th Ave NE
Mpls, MN

I will be at the reception on the early side of things, because then I'll be off to join my husband in a preview of one of the film projects he appeared in! 

If you are unable to take in the show tonight, you can still catch throughout the month of March. The show will be up till March 31st. The exhibit can be viewed during building hours: Monday-Friday, 8-6 p.m.

My piece that will be in the show

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Hey there...I want to paint, in the worse way. The sun is streaming in the studio, just calling me to paint. I also want to blog...I have lots of pics and things to share...

But it all must wait a bit. If I painted or blogged right now, it would really be more of a diversionary tactic from the project I really need to accomplish. In less than a week, I need to submit my first ever individual artist grant. I set this as a goal about a month ago and I'm not letting myself off the hook! 

The application isn't too complicated...I just need to sit down and write! But geez, you've all been there--isn't it amazing how many other things you can find to do when you have a deadline looming in front of you!

But enough procrastinating! I'm sitting down to start writing this very minute! And until I'm done, you won't see anything more from me! 

Au revoir!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Peacock Painting #2

For Christmas, I painted a Peacock painting for my daughter. (I wrote about it here)  I enjoyed painting it so much I decided to paint another, only larger. I finished it a few weeks ago. This one is 30x30 (the earlier one was 24x24).

I enjoyed working with the rich, royal colors...quite a contrast to the sea of white that makes up our winter landscape. 

I also like the movement and energy of the feathers swirling around the peacock's head. 

I'm not certain I'm done with the peacock theme just yet. I may need to paint another peacock painting somewhere down the road. I have visions of a painting with a woman and a peacock...haven't started it yet, but the idea of it keeps swimming around in my creative brain. 

I do intend to sell this painting, but for now, this painting is adorning my studio, providing inspiration...and waiting for its new home.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting my Groove back!

Just a quick update here (I know it's been a while!):

I sort of re-discovered my painting groove a few weeks ago, only to "lose" it again when I started working my new job. Last Friday I started my new gig as a Visitor Assistant at the Science Museum of Minnesota, specifically for the King Tut Exhibit. The most immediate adjustment has been dealing with the aches and pains of the job--I stand for my entire shift (6-7 hours), save my lunch break. Not easy on this 50-year-old body! I bought new cushion-y shoes and 2 days later bought new cushion-y inserts for the new cushion-y shoes. It's helping, but at the end of the shift, my back and feet are hurting. (Other than that, the job has been great!)

So I've been heading to bed early and chilling (stretching!) before work. Oh ya, we also had a snowstorm (15+ inches) this weekend. It's been gray, cold, windy...might I say, a little depressing in the weather department!

This morning I woke up to the sun streaming through the windows...a definite day brightener! It's amazing how much a sunny day will put me in the mood to paint...and so I did...and I'm happy to report--Risa got her groove back!