Thursday, November 18, 2010

Celebration, 3oth birthdays, art

I just got done celebrating my friend's 30th birthday. Nothing too crazy; it was pretty low key. He's been there for most of the past year and a half of graduate school. We've compared highs and lows-- relationship and/or family pitfalls, emotional highs and artistic lows. Instead of getting crazy wasted like we might have at 20, there was a reverence for the history we've each created in our own life and with each other. But also how he and I have shared the past year and a half.

He came to graduate school knowing there was a life-changing miracle growing within his wife and partner. Their son, Holden (what a cutie!), is about 7months old. I came to graduate school knowing my partner and love of my life was staying 1500 miles away. Within the first few weeks of school I think we understood our similar feelings of intrepidity were different than typical graduate students' plight, and there was an instant bond. Over the course of the first year grew a trust and understanding of the deepest parts of ourselves-- where our art comes from, our own personal history and the deeply profound effect that those things can have on each of us IF we choose to acknowledge it. Acknowledging those things to one another has been of the utmost importance to me and my artistic development. Thanks, Brandon!

There were moments where he was unsure of the birth of his child; knowing how drastically it would forever affect his friendships and career and yet being willing to own up to the incredible opportunity to witness and be a part of the positive change in the world. There were also moments where I was unsure of the love that awaited me 1500 miles away. I was tentative to trust with the baggage I had been carrying around. Compounded with the death of my father, this separation from my life partner seemed too much to bear at times. These friendships helped me understand, like Dr Seuss said, "Where ever you go, there you are.".

Over the course of the past 16 months my friends and I have developed an amazing trust and understanding of one another. I write this in celebration of that trust and friendship that we can all celebrate in each relationship in our lives. If we choose to listen and take the time for one another, no matter how busy the circumstance, it will behoove each and every one of us. Listen to the what your friends have to say (or even the silence that hangs in between), and we will knit tighter the connection between each and every one of us. Something I think our society as a whole desperately needs.

Thanks to all my friends, my family and my comrades. You have made me the person I am today. I hope we all continue to cherish the beauty in our lives, questions the curious and revel in the laughter.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Highs and Lows

It's been a while. Did you miss me? I missed myself for a bit. I was down in the dumps coming back to Bowling Green. Joel and I weren't getting along like we normally do, sacrificing our relationship for that of a friend's marriage. Not making time for one another-- to love each other, vent to each other and just be with each other. When I got back to Ohio I couldn't find my work. That's not to say it was missing, it just wasn't coming. At all. Not a drop of creativity or making, or wanting to make. I just felt empty. Focusing too much on fears of teaching, fears of making and just plain old being a scaredy-cat can be crippling to a girl.

But I'm back! Head and heart are open and ready. Learning "no" can be a liberating yet difficult thing to do. I was able to stand up for myself recently and it felt great. I will not be teaching a 4D class that I would have no clue how to even start. (If you're wondering, like I was, what the hell is the 4th dimension?! They consider it time and space; teaching video, performance and animations.) I get to stick with foundations drawing and not feel a bit bad about it. In fact, I'm quite excited!

Sense of Place,
Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art

Oh the power of positive thinking. I got work into Sense of Place, an exhibition in August, Georgia. Seems quite fitting for my work so I was happy to be one of the chosen artists. I was talking to my friend here about selling work. "I'm selling this piece," I said affirmatively. A little later in the week, today in fact, I got a phone call from the Toledo Art Museum and I sold the work I had in the TAA show!

Highs and Lows
Sold at the TAA

So, on that note. Both my head and my heart are both beaming a little right now. The world is a beautiful place, even at the times when it seems the lowest.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I had an amazing, busy and work-filled vacation to Wyoming. It solidified where I want to be in my life. I sit in sticky, humid Ohio writing this and thinking about how crisp the air is, how blue the skies are and what an amazing community of friends and family I have there. That's not to say Ohio is lacking in the community. I've got great friends here and my network continues to grow.

The opportunity presented itself to apply for a job back home. Not just any job, but my dream job. You see, this wealthy couple bought up a local dude ranch and have invested lots of bucks. One of their goals is to open an art center with a residency program. Funny, that's what I wanted to do someday down the line. I always thought it was years away and that I would move somewhere else sticky and humid to teach for awhile and gain some skills in the world of academia. Joel has always wanted to stay in the mountains but says he's willing to go somewhere else for awhile. There's a part of me that hopes he doesn't have to. I know it's a long shot but I already put in the application. Haven't heard back yet, but no need to rush. I still have my last year of grad school to finish!

I know several of my comrades also applied or at least were interested in the position. Good luck to us all; I know any one of us would be an asset to the ranch. And hey if I don't get the job, there's always time for a residency, right?!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Falling in Love all Over Again…

Turns out you can always goes home. My flight back to Colorado was fast and not too bumpy, except for the landing. I always love when I’m on the side of the plane that I can see the mountains as we land. That view warms my heart every single time. The dramatic storm building over the peaks is home.

Joel and I pick up right where we left off. That was the longest we had been apart and it was starting to get to me. Not because we were apart, but more because we are both extremely busy right now. He swamped with summer work hours and climbing; me with studio work, moving and prepping for workshops and visiting artist gig. Busy schedules make for little phone time to reconnect.

I always forget his smell when I’m far away. That’s a powerful sense most of us possess, though most of us do not know how to use it. It has been sent into dormancy and dominated by sight and touch. I challenge each of you to reinvigorate your sense of smell! It’s a beautiful thing.

We were like teenagers. Ate a late lunch at the Pump House in Longmont, checked into the eclectic Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, took a wonderful nap, drank champagne and ate delicious rhubarb crostada and then went to a movie. Next morning we ate at Lucille’s Creole CafĂ©. Yum! With the champagne we were asked, “Celebrating anything special?” Yes, It’s Sunday!… and we are together again.

On the way home I tried to identify wild flowers zooming by out the window. I can’t believe how green the prairie is in mid July. It’s beautiful in this place. Those colors and changing topography as we drive north is home.

I wanted to walk on the prairie and Joel needed some new pants so we decided to drive to Cheyenne via Roger’s Canyon—a drive that neither Joel nor I had taken. The changing light as it creates shadows on the basin, the short cliff bands up the canyon bring back memories of old friends and past experience for me. We drove upon two bands of sheep and I told Joel about this book I just read about a young woman who tackled the challenge of being a female sheepherder in the 1970s—Claiming Ground by Wyoming writer Laura Bell (highly recommend this memoir!).

Back to senses—driving with the windows down wafts of white sage and my favorite the intoxicatingly sweet and Ceylon smell of fields upon fields of yellow clover washed over us. Grasses crunch as we walk and you forget the small life that hangs low to the prairie. Meadowlarks call. The wind is strong and cathartic. This is love and this is home. I challenge myself – do I remember names of wildflowers? Most of them. We joke about toadflax, a.k.a. Butter and Eggs, a.k.a. my personal favorite nickname Eggs and Bacon!

So even though my time at home is not a vacation my sense of place and home is stronger and my soul is more content. Grounded and centered I welcome the next few weeks with open arms and hope time doesn’t rush by too quickly. But I know if these weeks are fast, I’m ready to take them in fully because this is home!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tired puppy.

Longs days of packing, playing administrator (I'm the contact for incoming graduate students), and trying to figure out my studio work. About a month ago I was contacted by the University of Wyoming Art Museum to do a visiting artist gig at their Summer Teaching Institute. I was giddy because it's my first opportunity of this kind so I quickly jumped at it. Now I'm feeling the squeeze of all these things I've committed to.

I was looking forward to my month at home having at least some down time with Joel but it's not looking like that will be the case. Not to mention Joel's buddy, The Large Man, is staying with him for what looks like will be the end of the summer because of a recent marital split. I don't mean to sound selfish but it should be an interesting 'break' for me! Joel is dealing with the recent golden retriever addition much better than I would be. He's so kind.

Nonetheless, here is the most recent print I am struggling through. I don't really like how it's working but it has a lot of potential. The transparency needs some tweaking for sure. I plan to make the pattern more transparent and the gradation from purple to yellow in the upper portion of the sky more prominent. I think it needs some line work too.

It will have to wait until tomorrow or Friday though. Picking up the keys to the new pad and then strong men are helping me move tomorrow night... yippee!

* Note to self: Pastel work is not translating as easily into print as I would have hoped. Don't lose sight of all that color work you just did!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Be Bold!

So I find myself sitting in my hot, muggy studio listening to bangs and booms from thunder and hellacious rains. It's kind of dramatic.

I've embraced Ohio the past two weeks and found myself more accustomed to the humidity, the denseness of the trees and yet finding solace in the openness of the Maumee River. That being said, I still do not love humidity and I am craving the crisp air of the Wyoming mountains.


The class I just finished was a great experience for me... funny I dreaded it before I started! Any time one devotes intense hours so something, be it meditation or plien air drawing as I have done this summer, we grow in ways that were never expected.

In my last job, one of the things I learned is that relationships make the world go 'round. We are all so connected to one another, for better or worse. Color is not so different! The science of color is quite remarkable and I feel as though I've merely skimmed the surface. The sky is not really just one blue and clouds aren't even close to white. The same yellow that makes up the highlights in that perfect cloudy sky is the same one used to neutralize the purple in that pile of rocks in the distance. It's all about the color relationship, what is butted up against it or softly nestled over the top can dramatically change the emotion of a landscape.

No white in there, no sir-ee

The only way to really learn how to use color is to try it out! Yes, intensive hours are helpful but my advice is, Be Bold! Now I can't claim full credit for that. One of my favorite art instructors, Bill Park, used to tell me that. He didn't even go to art school but he's had the soul of an artist his whole life and has made beautiful paintings and prints since the age of 40. The only way to be bold is let yourself make mistakes and not be afraid you'll "ruin" a drawing. Very few things are ever truly ruined. Sounds like it should apply to life, right? Well, mostly. Definitely couldn't hurt.

Last drawing of the class

Now that I've sounded all mushy-gushy all I have to say is, it's time to pack, move my shit to a new apartment and then off to Wyoming, Bitches!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Feelin' hot, Hot, HOT!

Oofta. It was around 90 degrees today and lots of humidity. Even the shade was hot. Not quite as hot as India, but too hot to draw in and maintain good concentration. That being said, I found a breezy, shady spot early in the day and managed to kick out a decent drawing.

All in a day's work:

For the past two days we've been at the Schedel Gardens. Beautiful! The website doesn't really do it justice. They've got a great veggie garden, rose garden and Japanese style garden complete with resident swans. When I was sitting at the edge of this pond there were fish jumping clear out of the water throughout the morning. "Ker-sploosh", "Ka-plump!" It was good comic relief. Suffice to say, I could work in a place like that and be very happy. They also had banana trees and taro planted in the ground with papaya and pomegranates planted in nearby pots. It did remind me of the tropical locales I've visited...

I could be coming out of my Ohio funk!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So I've been at this pastel class for 4 1/2 days. It's been hard. It's been a fun challenge. It's been full of crazy bugs!

Here's a few of the field drawings:

I'm working on a longer studio piece but it's definitely a work in progress... I'll keep you posted!

Other than that, I'm still missing Joel and Wyoming. I forget that Saturdays are his day to sleep in. I texted this morning at 9:30 (2 hrs earlier, his time!) thinking that he'd be up and getting ready for work. I called at 10:30 and woke up a grumpy bear. Whoops! This living apart, two hour time difference business is wearing on me. At least we get to see one another in a few more weeks. Pheww!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A day of "it's been awhile"s.

This was the first day in a ten day outdoor workshop in chalk pastels. I have to admit, I was extremely nervous because it's been so long since I've drawn from life. I was also quite excited to fuel some of my other studio work. Turned out it wasn't so bad! Here are the two drawings I did this afternoon. It was about an hour and half from start to finish.

Colors a little flat on both (camera phone, d'oh!)

While we were prepping surfaces this morning, Dennis said the sky in the Midwest is gray. I didn't really understand that until I went out. Atmosphere makes such a big difference-- Wyoming's calling me!

Note to self: buy bug dope and sunscreen!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I have been extremely homesick for about two weeks. The heat and humidity of Ohio may just be getting to me. Or possibly the fact that Joel and I haven't talked much on the phone. It's his busy season so there's not a lot of free time. I miss my home and my friends.

Record floods are happening all across the state of Wyoming. The river in Lander, Popo Agie, in Fremont County has swept away portions of bridges and roads. Last I heard they are expecting 2-3 FEET of snow tonight. Yikes! The town of Saratoga on the Platte River has been at flood stage for almost a week and isn't expected to go down until next week. And my home town of Encampment flooded for the first time since I was a kid. I think I read somewhere that it's the highest on record. And here I sit in Ohio, unable to witness the power of Mother Nature.

Outside of the heat and humidity I do find solace in a few places here in Ohio. There's Wintergarden, a nature park on the edge of Bowling Green. Too bad the mosquitos are so big and prevalent they'd carry you away! My sanity can't handle all that buzzing right now. And then there's the great Maumee River. She's a big one; and she's rushing right now! Night before last I went and just hung out for awhile at her banks. I watched a heron fish for a bit and then I came home.

So while I can't be in my home to witness the strength, beauty and tragedy of great (sometimes small) rivers, I pay homage to them here (even though all I do is just sit). Just thinking about all of you effected by raging waters and wishing you the best!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So I started this blog about a year ago... this is my first post! I'm honestly not quite sure why I'm doing it other than I've wanted to for awhile now. Maybe it's to help me find my voice. I've never really thought I had anything good to say; or at least that anyone would want to listen to. Even if that is the case, the beauty of blogging is that you don't have to keep reading if you do not want to!

Part of my inspiration comes from my best friend who has been blogging awhile now. We met randomly through some mutually friends at a stitch and bitch. That was about 5 (4?) years ago. Our lives twisted and turned-- she had a baby, I met the love of my life. Last year I move 1500 miles away to go to graduate school. We haven't really seen much of one another but each week or so she posts these amazing things and I get a little inspired... or at least stop feeling sorry for myself!

Another reason for doing this is to share my art. I was posting quite regularly on Facebook but found that it is not the best forum for that. Instead of getting critical feedback I got "I like it." Not that I am objecting, that is nice too! But I am seeking a place to post works in progress and let you comment with sincerity. You might hate what I post, or wish it was a different color; you might love it and want to hang it above your couch. Both are okay for me, but make sure you tell me!

So with that, here is one of the prints that I'm working on:

I waiver between making gigunda, ridiculously large prints (this one is 10ft!) and smaller works that are more layered and controlled. My eventual goal is for the large ones to have the same layered feel and soft atmospheric qualities that the small ones possess. Here are a few examples of those: