The Holidays, Turning Forty and Mexico

November and December were a blur of activity! So much so, that it's late January and I'm just now getting around to writing about it. There were so many shows and so much art making and so many lovely people to meet and chat with. I feel lucky to have been included in shows with so many other talented artists, and to have the opportunity to chat with many lovely people (like you!) at every show.

The behind the scenes part of being an artist, the part they don't really teach you about in school, is the business side of things. It's one thing to make art- the fun part! But it's another thing to find ways to get that art out into the world. So while you mostly see the progress shots and finished pieces, there's this other component: getting it photographed, posting it on the website or Instagram, researching shows and then applying for them, and of course packing, unpacking, setting up displays, and breaking them down again... over and over again! All of this on top of a day job can be really intense and exhausting!

Time lapse of setting up my art show booth at Abbey Road Farms

 

Once I packed up from the last show, my open studio, my husband and I packed our bags for two weeks vacation in Mexico! I had a big birthday coming up between Christmas and New Years, (40th) and we hadn't had a honeymoon so we rolled it all up into this trip. The mission: relax, get sun, create and daydream of things to come. We agreed to take a two week hiatus from reading the news (much needed). I brought a stack of books, some canvas, watercolors and brushes, and off we went. 

We spent the first few nights,  at Tailwind Jungle Lodge, just 3 miles outside of San Pancho (or San Fransisco). No wifi, no tv, no car. Just the sound of the jungle creatures and the crash of the ocean down below. This was the perfect way to ease into some down time. From the jungle we spent the bulk of our trip in Sayulita with my good friend and fellow artist , and our last two nights in Puerto Vallarta.  Here's a few pics of the trip and the art I made (started) while we were away.

 This is the view from our Casita at Tail Wind Jungle Lodge. The image below is a painting I started, inspired by this view.

This is the view from our Casita at Tail Wind Jungle Lodge. The image below is a painting I started, inspired by this view.

 Work in progress- Watercolors.

Work in progress- Watercolors.

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Sketch from Yah-Yah's Cafe
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 Humpback whales!

Humpback whales!

Working Large

Years ago on a visit to Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico I'd started this canvas. I had visions of bright colors and capturing the shadows cast by these metal lanterns on my friend's rooftop patio, but on the last day of the trip, the sun didn't cooperate and I brought the canvas home unfinished. The next year, I brought this giant canvas back down with the same vision in mind, yet I couldn't recreate the scene I'd had in my head the previous year, so I brought the giant canvas back to Portland again.

 The original inspiration for this painting came from the shadows of these lanterns and cinder blocks.

The original inspiration for this painting came from the shadows of these lanterns and cinder blocks.

 Here I am on a rooftop in Mexico getting things started.

Here I am on a rooftop in Mexico getting things started.

 Working in Cori's studio. The brightly colored painting on the bottom right, is how this giant painting began...

Working in Cori's studio. The brightly colored painting on the bottom right, is how this giant painting began...

After pondering how to complete this painting, I remembered a sunset dinner I'd had with friends in NYC. Perched on a rooftop on the upper west side, we watched the sun disappear as it changed the light of the sky. Windows and building facaded reflecting back the bright pinks, oranges and purples against an ever darker blue sky, which changed my plan for this painting drastically!

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I'd mostly finished it about two years ago, and it's been hanging unstretched in my basement clay studio. My upcoming show at Symposium Coffee, inspired me to have it stretched while I was in Mexico, so it'd be ready to go when I got home. The funny thing about that... once stretched, that sucker was way too big to fit in my little GTI! Fortunately, I only live a few blocks from I've Been Framed. The trip home went a little something like this...

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 Hanging in it's temporary home.

Hanging in it's temporary home.

Now, I need to figure out how to get it to Symposium next week to hang for my show! Too bad Tigard isn't walking distance... 

Please stop by and see my new work at Symposium between February 1-28. Details here.

Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days: September 4 & 5

Days 4 and 5 of the challenge are similar but different. Day Four is a tiny 3" x3" canvas I created simply by making marks and looking for something to appear. In this case it was a quartet of tiny houses. If you want to look for deeper meaning, I imagine it comes two fold in this one. First, the changing face of housing in Portland. So many old homes and buildings being demolished to create giant multi-apartment behemoths. It's happening all around me and my feelings of over crowding and loss of architectural history find their way into my artwork- subconsciously or not.

The second, comes from the political changes and treatment of the poor, immigrants and minorities under this new administration. Are we not all entitled to "the American Dream"? The cozy home in the suburbs with the white picket fence, and 2.5 kids. Prosperity. Neighborly support. Maybe these tiny houses are my way of crying out for the loss of the American dream. There's plenty more where these came from too. I imagine these themes playing out in my artwork for the foreseeable future.

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My Day Five painting is a little less heady. It's the nighttime version of the view I posted for Day Three. The view from a balcony in Long Island City, where I was lucky enough to paint plein air in August. More on that soon, but here's the  sketch of the night time view. Soon these NYC sketches will help me complete three larger canvases I started there. Perhaps that's an October project though. ;)

Views From Long Island City

Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days: September 3

Chugging along finishing up my limbo paintings as part of the 30 in 30 challenge. I started this guy during my August painting trip to New York. Trying to capture the rapidly changing light of a stunning sunset from a balcony in Long Island City... it's hard work! So I snapped a few photos, with my phone and in my imagination and finished it up yesterday.

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Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days: Day One and Two

That's right; I'm doing the September Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge! It was a really good motivator for me when I did it in January (scroll back through the blog to see). I still need to write more about my NYC adventure- I haven't forgotten! But for now...

My theme this time is to finish several paintings that have been in limbo for far too long AND to find inspiration in Instagram photos: mine and other peoples.

Day One

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Day Two

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Painting on Rooftops

This summer has been a whirlwind of activity- planning a wedding at your home can certainly take a person away from other tasks, like making art! (more on the wedding later) But the party is over, and now I am back to making new work!

 

A few summers ago while in NYC on a business trip for my day job, I snuck in some time on a friend's rooftop in Brooklyn and made some fast sketches and paintings from the view. Ever since then I've been daydreaming of creating my own artist residency of sorts- scheduling time to paint from the rooftops, so I decided to do a little outreach to see if it's possible. Lucky for me I know some incredible people, with friends in high places (pun!), so as it stands right now I have three possible locations for this project, with a few more options to explore.

I plan to create 3-4 larger paintings and several smaller canvases, similar in style to my 30 Paintings in 30 Days project (scroll back through the blog to see those). Can I do it? Will you watch and keep me accountable? I'll be landing in NYC on August 11, and will post regularly to share my progress. I may even interview other artists along the way.

 

Stay tuned!

Making New Micro-Rooftop Gardens

I got to participate in the Mississippi Street Fair last Saturday (July 8) and decided to make some new smaller pieces just for the occasion. The fair came on the heels of my wedding celebration so all the work I created had to be done a mere week before the street fair! Luckily I work best under pressure and was able to crank out about thirty new pieces.

If you've ever wondered how I make my ceramic cityscapes here's a peek behind the scenes. After throwing each piece in brown clay on the potter's wheel, I then paint on two coats of a white slip (that's liquid white clay) before adding color.

Next, I add a couple coats of the base color. The process is identical to adding the white slip, just more colorful!

From here it's on to handpainting each building and sky background, then carving windows and details. You can see snippets of that process on my Instagram page here and

 And here is everything at the Mississippi Street Fair!

And here is everything at the Mississippi Street Fair!

Stay tuned for more new artwork and updates on new shows I'll be doing in September.

The Recycled Rain Project 2017: Getting Started

I am honored to be invited to participate in the Recycled Rain Project, for the third consecutive year! If you're unfamiliar with this event, it's a curated show of artwork made using recycled rain water. A percentage of proceeds are donated to a water conservation non-profit (it's been Solve in the past, but I don't know who it is this year). All of the work in the show has to have something to do with water.

Last year I created a Portland cityscape painting with the Willamette River in the foreground. This year I have been pondering Water Towers a lot, and they have been appearing often in my cityscapes so I decided to create a painting to capture that.

 

Step one: Capture rainwater. Easy enough considering how much rain we've had here in Portland this year.

I decided to try making a diptych this year, since I just scored a great deal on these odd shaped canvases. 

So that's where I left off after my last painting session. Stay tuned for the next post with progress. Do I add windows? More water towers? So many choices to make! Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback always welcome and appreciated. Updates coming soon, but if you're in Portland please come by the opening on June 3rd at the Ford Building on SE Division Street. 

Goals: Apply to Shows

One of my goals this year is to pay more attention to my art. I've finally found myself in a place where I have a great balance between my day job and having enough time to create. It's pretty exciting! So now that I have all this "free time" I'm striving to invest more in making and promoting my own art. 

Besides making time to create, I have also committed to applying to shows. A simple goal of one show application per month seems like a good starting point. For January, I was thrilled to discover the Glean Residency right here in Portland! My friend Marcia invited me to attend a RACC networking event one evening a couple weeks ago, and Glean had a representative there talking about the project. I've linked to their site above, but in a nutshell Glean resident artists are invited to Metro (the Portland dump) for five months to glean materials to repurpose into artwork. How cool is that? I was so excited about the possibilities of this project that I seriously couldn't stop thinking about it! A good problem to have considering the application deadline was just four days after I first leaned of the project.

It was a good push to get me to write a CV, bio, artist statement, and think through a proposal for what I would do if accepted. As much as I am a planner in my day to day life, I am a lot freer in my artwork. I don't plan much, and when I sketch out ideas they seldom translate to a finished piece of work. Instead I spend a lot of time thinking, and then I just... make something! Narrowing down all the possibilities in my head was nearly impossible. At first I thought I'd propose making marionettes! I mean, life sized marionettes made from trash? How cool would that be? But as I sat down to write about what inspires me and what I've been creating recently, I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to push the envelope with my cityscapes. Here's my proposal:

The Glean Residency would allow me to further explore my love of architectural salvage and to create interactive installation art. I’d use the opportunity to collect discarded life affects to build a collection of two and three dimensional cities. I envision this series of individual sculptures and hanging pieces, will stand alone and work together to tell a bigger story, similar to a large scale diorama. I’d like to construct sculptures, mobiles, and “paintings” that represent some of the feelings we experience when visiting unfamiliar places and cultures: the fear of being lost and not grasping the language well enough to ask for directions; impossibly tall buildings looming overhead; the joy of making a wrong turn and discovering something unexpected and wonderful; the contrasting energy of day and night. I’m intrigued by the idea of conveying the energy people bring to a city, without representing them in the art, but inviting the viewer to temporarily become part the piece.

Of course, 86 other people also applied! Portland is so full of talented artists I'm sure the competition will be stiff. Either way I should hear whether I've made it to the interview round in the next couple of days. Here's hoping! In the meantime I'm thinking about making my February application for Art in the Pearl; another long shot, but hey, por que no?