Memories and Art

As I’ve been working on my workshops for Capture the Glow (my upcoming art + yoga retreat in Mexico this January), I’ve been flipping through old art journals and artwork from my past, trying to connect with what once inspired me and looking for tidbits I can share from my life of art making that might inspire others.

I've spent lots of time thinking about all the ways memories have inspired me to create over the years. This lead me down a path of sorting through boxes and the heaping mess of art supplies and other stuff I've hoarded in the basement because... you know, I might just make some art out of it ... someday. But I’ve rediscovered old paintings. And photos of people and places I used to know. Sketchbooks and journals. Little bits of memorabilia from distant parts of my past. 

I never know what to do with these things when I rediscover them, and so they get shuffled from shelf to drawer, to box, to pile on the floor. I have committed to taking action on finding homes for these things, whether it's on a wall, or in the trash/recycling bin, or sending it off to a friend from my past who might enjoy a little nostalgia of their own.

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Some fun memories bubbled up, like: in high school I loved flipping through magazines and ripping out pages with images I wanted to recreate with paint. My younger artist self needed to recreate objects exactly as I saw them, or at least try to. It made starting and stopping (the definition of stopping here is completion/perfection) new paintings pretty hard. Photo-realistic perfection was always the goal and the opportunity to fail was high, so I ended up with so many unfinished, or un-started projects. This painting is a good example of life imitating art, or maybe it's art imitating life.

My old house in Sandy Hook, CT where I lived 2002-2005.

My old house in Sandy Hook, CT where I lived 2002-2005.

Once upon a time (2002-2005), I lived in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in a little house with my landscape architect boyfriend. We spent a lot of time working on our yard, and I spent a lot of time perusing home and garden magazines. Still ripping out pages for all sorts of life inspiration. I found this image of these stunning flowers I'd never seen before, and tore it out with the intention of finding and planting them in the yard. Alas, the sweet landscape architect and I drifted apart and the hellebores were never planted in our garden. As we searched for ways to reconnect, we spent a few hours together painting with watercolors. We each picked a magazine image to recreate, these hellebores were mine. 

Between the breakup, packing, and moving cross country it sat unfinished for nearly two years, but it was one of the few things that made the journey west with me (purging a three bedroom house chock full of stuff you thought was cool in your twenties = very cathartic). My hope for my new Portland life was that I’d focus more on art making, and luckily I fell into a group of new artist friends. We began having weekly dinner and art nights, where I dusted off this old painting and committed to completing it. It was the first work of art I finished in my new city, and I think of it as the start of my new creative life here.

While there have been starts, stops and plenty of distractions along the way, this painting has hung in every bedroom I’ve inhabited since I moved here. A constant reminder of where I came from, and where I’d like to go. My north star, if you will. I’ve since gotten away from the need to create photo-realistic art work, and learned to be a little kinder to myself in the stopping and starting of new projects. Oh! And I finally got to plant those Hellebores in my garden. Lots and lots of them!

What are your creative challenges and fears? How do you work through them? I’d love to talk about it, if you’d like to leave me a comment.

 

 

 

 

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 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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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. 

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 5 & 6

Last Friday, our new stove hood arrived, which sent me down this rabbit hole of cleaning and painting my kitchen. Four days later, with work still to be done, I got really behind on my 30 Paintings in 30 Days project... unless we can count the kitchen as a few paintings?

I am committed to producing 30 paintings this month so last night I got back in the studio and finished paintings 5 and 6, plus started working on a few others. 

I have painted another version of this view before, but every sunrise is different so here's another! 

One of my favorite things about my bedroom, is it has sliding glass doors that open to my back yard garden. In the summer I can lay in bed, listen to the birds and watch the sunrise. Sometimes I sit on the back steps and enjoy my coffee, watching the sky change from the dark cover of night, to warmer hues of yellow, pinks, and purples. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather returning so I can get back into the yard to paint. Working from photos will have to do for now.
 

Here's the photo I worked from.

My sixth painting is another sunrise view of Mt Tabor. In case you can't tell from my previous paintings, I am an early riser who loves a good sunrise! I snapped several photos of this sunrise on my morning run with the dogs. Every moment the sky changes. It's beauty was truly captivating.

The photo I worked from.

The painting. 

I'm not entirely sure it's done yet, but for the purposes of my 30 in 30 challenge, we'll call it done for now. I have a bad habit of re-working paintings often, sometimes even years after they've been "completed."

 

More new work coming soon! All of these canvases will be for sale after the challenge is over, don't hesitate to contact me if you're interested or have questions. :)

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day Four

Ok, so I'm behind, but not entirely. The project is to produce thirty paintings in thirty days, not a painting a day for Thirty days... so I'm feeling ok about that. I have painted the last 6 out of 7 days, and that feels pretty good!

The last two days I haven't felt particularly inspired or motivated to create. Sometimes work life and stress can be terrible creative blocks. I couldn't resolve the paintings I had hoped to for day four (and five...) so I decided to call this one good and keep moving! Keeping with my theme of recreating my Instagram photos, this one is fun because it is a painting, of a photo, of one of my cityscape ceramic platters.  Sadly the platter warped so badly in the final firing, that it's unusable, but there's always something to be learned in the process.

Here's the Instagram photo that inspired the painting.

And here's the painting. It's not my favorite, but it's done!

The platter in its leather hard state before firing, glazing and firing again. I'm going to make another and hope it survives the whole process in tact. 

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day Three

I've been working my way through the neighborhood in the first three paintings of this challenge. For Day Three, I recreated the sunrise view from the fields at Franklin High School. One of countless sunrises I've seen there while walking the dogs over the years.

The first painting on the left is the starting point for the finished photo below. You can see the photo I was working from in the background. 

Finished!

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day Two

Cruising right along! My second painting is also inspired by my early morning dog walks with the Aussies at Mt. Tabor. When I'm running, laps around this reservoir are a frequent morning activity. I love it, any time of day, but especially early in the morning as the sun is rising and the people are few and far between. 

Sketching with paint. Filling in details and reflections.

Sketching with paint. Filling in details and reflections.

The finished canvas is 6" x 6" in acrylic.

Now it's time to finish Day three's painting!

Art Making and Other Adventures

The last couple of years have been largely about personal and creative exploration. I have an insatiable wanderlust, barely kept in check by a lack of funds. I find travel, whether it's local day trips, national excursions, or international exploration, to be inspirational in so many ways. Lately my travels have been fueling my Cityscape artwork, as I translate the colors, energy and emotion I experience while interacting with different places and cultures into art. 

My cities are largely fantastical, emerging from a series of brush strokes and colors, layering one on top of another. They allude to places I've been or situations I've experienced, but are meant to be open to interpretation. It's fun to hear people discuss their own ideas of what each piece represents to them, and I'm always thrilled when someone makes a personal connection with my work- it may remind them of a place or culture they remember fondly, which is completely different than what may have inspired me. Sometimes they know exactly the inspiration. Other times they want to talk about it; they want me to tell them what it is they're looking at. I guess my paintings are largely my way to interact with cultures and individuals and share a moment of whimsy.

As I write this post, I sit in my friend Cori's living room in San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico. We've begun an unofficial creative exchange program: she stays with me during the Portland summers, and I escape to her home here to paint and recalibrate in the gloomy Portland winters. It's a pretty great balance. We chat about art, (creative) self-promotion, food, life. It's relaxing and inspirational to see the life she's made here for herself here in San Pancho, and in Sayulita where her gallery is.

I've been painting on her rooftop in the sun, enjoying the sights and sounds of San Pancho. Here's a few snapshots with more to come.

Stunning sunrise from Cori's rooftop.

Stunning sunrise from Cori's rooftop.


My rooftop studio.

My rooftop studio.