Saturday, January 8, 2011

WARM coffee

a picture of my Jax studio

I broke away from the whole moving ordeal this morning to attend my first WARM "coffee" event. These monthly "coffees" are an opportunity to gather with other WARM members at a studio, socialize & network, take in some art, share resources, to socialize & network... Yes, I know I repeated "to socialize & network", but as this was the first time I've been out of the house in a few weeks to enjoy such an activity it made quite an impression. It's amazing how sometimes you don't realize how closed in you're feeling until you get a whiff of fresh air (and let me tell you with temps just over zero degrees this morning, a whiff of fresh air was quite invigorating!)

This month's coffee was held at the Dow building, which houses several WARM artists. About 20 of us visited the studios of five different WARM artists. As we stopped in each studio, the artist we were visiting showed some of their work, talked about their process, answered questions... I have been to the Dow Building before when they have sponsored open studio events (which they do each November), but it was lovely to get a "behind the scenes" look and to hear each artist talk about their work. It was equally delightful to hear and participate in the conversation among all the artists there. I want this group to visit my studio; it was such a lovely, warm, friendly bunch!

Perhaps my favorite stop was at the studio of painter Bettye Olson. I remember my previous stops in Bettye's studio well--she always makes you feel welcome and shares a bit of her history. Today was no exception. Bettye has been an artist for over 65 years...and is still painting vibrant pieces. Bettye has been without question a pioneer for woman artists; both locally and nationally. She was doing it even before WARM existed. And she did it as an artist doing what she loved to do. She participated in a local gallery representing women artists as early in the 60's. She read to us snippets from some of the newspaper articles reviewing her earlier shows. One referred to a show of women artists as filled with "charm". It wasn't until the 80's that she wasn't referred to as "Bettye, Mrs. Howard E., Olson.  (You can find out a little more about Bettye and her artwork here, here, and here.)

(I felt a very strong reaction to these stories. First, gratitude to Bettye and other women like her who passed before me and paved the way. And also still a ripple of indignation. Really, I said to my friend next to me "this is why women started painting vaginas and putting them in your face."...but that's a discussion for another day) 

Following the "coffee", a small group of us met up at a real coffee shop and enjoyed more coffee and conversation--the perfect ending to this outing! I left feeling recharged and refocused on my artisitic endeavors. It even renewed my determination to enter a piece in the upcoming WARM member show. Yikes, the entry is due this coming Friday!

So, still much to finish on the moving front, but I am optimistic that I will manage to work in some studio time, in my new studio space, this coming week. I'll let you know how that goes and maybe have pictures!

Until then, stay warm everyone!


Gloria said...

How fun Risa. I'm glad you got to get away for a while. You deserve a break. Those coffee events sound like a really great idea. I joined a Bingo club and it starts this Thursday so I will be playing for an hour or so, it will be fun. Have a great Sunday.

ArtSnark said...

Sounds wonderful! & I always love pics of your studio - the rich colors are so welcoming & cozy