Sunday, January 30, 2011

Moving on!

Last week was all about finishing up "The Move." We rented a truck and moved all the big furniture out of the Jax studio (along with several carloads filled with boxes of art supplies...). It's all in our new place now...not quite organized, but getting there.

It was a big deal saying good-bye to my first studio. The Jax studio has been my home away from home, my haven, my artist retreat for the past four years. (I wrote about my hubby and I moving into the space here.) It was such a huge leap to have that separate space dedicated to working on my art. I became much more serious (and productive) about painting and then sharing my work with the public through open studio events. It helped me think of myself as an artist. It's the place where I started to realize my dreams as an's the place where I went from keeping those dreams to myself to sharing them with the world. Huge, huge steps!

I'll admit it was a little hard to say good-bye to the space, but I'm feeling good about moving on. My studio practice is now so strong that I know I will be just as productive working in my home studio...maybe even more productive, because who doesn't want to paint in their jammies?!?

I am ready to be done with moving! Moving was frustrating in all sorts of ways--besides being physically demanding (we did most of it ourselves), studio time was very minimal this past month. That part drove me crazy! But it has been a good time to take stock of what I have accomplished in the past few years...and also take a look at many works of progress. Sometimes looking at unfinished pieces with a set of fresh eyes helps you realize what you need to do to finish them (and occasionally there is that "what was I thinking" reaction!)
So now the only moving I'm doing is moving forward! I'll be back soon with pics of the new studio space and more BIG news of changes in my life!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Surviving the deep freeze

I've been trying to survive the deep freeze here in Minnesota. It's hard to find the desire to leave your warm, cozy home when you wake up to temps well below zero (-16 degrees Thursday morning). While I've enjoyed some days within the shelter of our home, settling in our new place, I've also been brave and ventured out. 

Thursday I had my first meeting with my WARM mentor, Brenna. I got to show her my new working space and share with her more of my artwork and my life story behind the work. 

The past few days have included more WARM-related activities...Friday I met with my small group that includes two other protegees that are working with Brenna. The three of us (still trying to come up with a name for our group) will be meeting on a regular basis, offering each other feedback and support. 

And then today I attended the Protegee Tea for all the protegees participating in this two-year cycle. There are 19 of us. Some of us have met at different events leading up to this kickoff to the program, but this was our first formal event as a group. It was nice to meet and get to know a little better the artists that I will share this whole experience with.

This week the weather is supposed to warm up a bit. After this past week, temps in the 20's will feel like a heatwave! It's funny how we psyche ourselves into believing it's "not that bad". We even try to convince ourselves that with January coming to a close, winter is almost over. Ha! There's still a good few months of cold and snow...but it's at least the half-way point, right?


pictures taken following our December blizzard

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today at the Studio...finally!

I snuck into the studio this morning and did a little painting. For a few hours, I escaped the chaos, ignored the boxes and did what I love to do...paint!! It was a welcome respite from the business of moving.

Later we did move over a few more carloads of stuff from the Jax studio. It feels good to have more of my supplies in my new studio. And while I'm waiting for some shelves to be moved over from the Jax, I am making do with the shelves I have here. There are boxes to unpack and piles of stuff to go through, but my music is hooked up...and I'm ready to do some painting.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good-bye Studio 507!

Yesterday we completed our move out of our home, Tilsner Studio 507. In many ways, I am so glad we're out--it's too hard living between two places. It was a very, very long two weeks of moving furniture, all our belongings, and then this week--painting our old place. I painted every wall of the place when we moved in and we had to prime all our walls back to white. The "high quality" primer we bought was actually crap and made the job that much harder. 

I will miss Studio #507. It was the first home that hubby and I chose together. I will miss how me made it home, by painting all those walls and decorating it our way. I will miss watching the sun rise over the river...and how the river changes with the seasons. 

But painting all the walls white, made the place cold & sterile...and no longer our home. We said our good-byes...and now we're ready to settle into Studio 107. There will be no view of the river, but one can't complain much when you have 20 foot ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. Over time we will make it our home.

We're not quite done with the moving...we still need to move our stuff out of our Jax studio by the end of the month! My body is worn out and I'm really missing studio time...but the end is in least I keep telling myself that!

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!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Moving into 2011

We are six days into our move. Despite being a bit under the weather, we have accomplished quite a bit...I've painted a few walls and started setting up the kitchen. With just a bit of help from my kids, we've moved most of the big furniture...our bed, living room furniture, dining room table...still some dressers to move and lots and lots of little stuff...and then there will be cleaning!

I've been going up and down between the 5th floor and the 1st, moving a cart full at a time. To say I'm exhausted is an understatement.

I was doing fairly well until last night when I hit a wall...the fatigue, the sense of overwhelm hit me like a ton of bricks. At the end of the night, I soothed my aching body by soaking in a hot bath and had a good cry. I needed that release.

It wasn't just the move overwhelming me. It's  all the uncertainty in my life. Whether you do it consciously or not, the new year seems like a natural time to reflect on the past year and then look forward. I always do this through some journaling and sometimes some visual work. Because of the move, I've been putting this off, but the brain works anyways...

In many ways, I am ready to put 2010 far behind me.  It was marked by the BIG event of my layoff last May. Unfortunately I am still feeling the impact of that event, as I am still unemployed and have not gotten any positive response from any of the applications I have submitted. When I am tired and feeling discouraged, I start doubting myself. My self-worth took a serious hit last year.

But I have been determined not to let this single event define me or my life. I have worked very hard to seize this change in my life as an opportunity more than a tragedy. I'm not saying that I am successful at this each day. I have had my fair share of moments like last night when I feel overwhelmed by my losses and the uncertainty of the future seems so daunting that I can't help but give in to a bout of despair.

But generally after a good night's sleep, I am ready to forge ahead. The new year brings with it many exciting possibilities. We are starting our year in a new home that already feels just that...home. And on the artist front...I am beginning the WARM mentor program and looking forward to not just dreaming about new artistic opportunities, but making them happen.

In the end, none of us really know what the future holds. There will always be bumps in the road and the unexpected flat tire that sidelines us for a while. But the key is to keep rolling along, making the best of difficult situations and being open to new, unexpected possibilities.

So with that, I am wishing for all of us a peaceful, productive and joyous 2011. Let's make the most of it

Here's a sneak peek of our move in progress, starting with the kitchen, aka "Command Central"--

The living room--

 And my studio, waiting to be unpacked--

 Now back to moving...