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.

Hellebores.png

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.

 

 

 

 

The Recycled Rain Project

Yup. It's that time of year again- The Recycled Rain Project has become my marker for the beginning of summer, and I'm excited to have been invited to participate again this year! The opening reception is this Saturday (June 2), but I'm sharing a few process photos with you here.

Getting started! That mason jar is full of the rain water I captured earlier in the spring.

Getting started! That mason jar is full of the rain water I captured earlier in the spring.

In the warmer weather I move my studio into the garden, and work there as much as I can! I love these timelapse videos to demonstrate process.

Watertower Painting.png

That last video is adding in the details of the bricks on that building in the foreground. It's always hard to know when to stop. I mean, I could work on these paintings forever... only I can't!

Come to The Recycled Rain Project Opening on June 2 to see the finished painting! Show's up through June. 

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!

Upper West SIde Aspirations.png

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...

Art Transport1.JPG
IMG_5616.JPG
IMG_5621.JPG
IMG_5619.JPG
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.

Tiny Houses.jpeg

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