It’s been a fairly cold stretch of days recently. The sort of cold that puts your shoulders all up in to your ears and dries out your nose and lips. When the weather gets this bitter, my studio is uninhabitable. There is just no warming up an uninsulated room that is 3 sides windows… no matter how good the old fireplace! This yearly hiatus of studio based work is not bad timing really. I got the show for the Pleasant Perk finished and up before the weather got too unbearable to melt wax and there is something about winter that puts me in a pensive, planning sort of mood. The way gardeners get when the seed catalogs start to arrive….
The Perk show has been a success thus far – I have sold 11 paintings!! They are all relatively small paintings, which I figured would work well in that market (I was right!) There has been plenty of good feedback as to the quality of the work and that it seems to resonate with a lot of people. With a good chunk of that work going to new homes at the end of the month, I naturally am wondering, what next ?
So, the dogs and I went walking a bit today, in spite of the cold, and did some thinking. Luckily, some of the answers are already in place. Making paintings is a rather solitude filled activity and I am looking forward to beginning the collaborative effort with fellow artist Tina Westerkamp and some ArtWorks students. We will be creating a large scale indoor relief mural for the Cincinnati Convention Center. Starting later this month, this project will be on the proverbial front burner for a couple of months, allowing for the weather to warm up at home to eventually get back to the wax work later in the spring.
The other work I am excited to continue and nurture is that of my sketchbook. The Art Academy class will be starting up again in February but this time will have a book making element to it. I am excited to be team teaching with amazing artist/book maker Cody Calhoun and will certainly post more information about this new class as it approaches. Also in February, I will be a visiting artist at UC Clermont to introduce my sketchbook process to a drawing class. So many wonderful opportunities are coming together at what seems like all at once! But I know it’s been years in the making – and I need to keep on making. Beyond the current plans, what could lie beyond? Not only what next, but what after that? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to over plan my life. But I believe in tossing things out there that could be possible and seeing what comes back around. With that spirit in mind, I am looking into residencies here and there. I could see spending an entire season (adventure loving family in tow) somewhere entirely different than Ohio. Like Maine, or northern Michigan. Who knows?
As I ponder the possibilities of going some place for the sheer point of exploration and art making, I will avoid my cold, cold studio and focus on some cozier fibery work like quilt making or embroidery. Who knows what lies around the bend?! This from a girl who idolized Jacques Cousteau back in the day. I wonder if artists ever get to go on scientific oceanic explorations? Hmmmm, now there is a thought.
Stay warm if you can….
I had a meeting with Troy Brown today, head of the Community Education program at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, about plans for a travel sketching class to Taos, NM. Since my trip to Taos late last summer, I have dreamed of taking a group of students there to soak up the beautiful light, Pueblo architecture and art history that the little town has to offer. I would be ready to launch the trip now and make it happen in the spring of 2010, but alas, to make this class a reality I need to take into account the time frame that the proper level of preparation and advertising will take. And so, we are scheduling the trip for the end of May/ early June, 2011.
On some level this feels really far into the future but actually, it’s not. This time next year, the Art Academy Winter/ Spring catalog will go out with the trip to Taos offered as part of a package that includes preparatory sketchbook classes to discuss supplies, techniques and general plans for the trip. If we get any takers from afar, I will work with those students independently online or via telephone. In the meantime the next two catalogs, Summer and then Fall 2010 will give the Art Academy plenty of time and opportunity to make the class known and available to a wide range of potential students. Perhaps I will even have the opportunity to head back to Taos between now and spring 2011 and seek out even more spectacular little places to sketch.
It is said that patience is a virtue, that good things come in their own time. I am trusting that this is true. My work cup is tremendously full right now with Drawing Down the Vision pilots happening this week and next. I also received word late last week that I am to be the teaching artist on an ArtWorks project to be created for and installed in the Duke Energy Convention Center here in Cincinnati. I’ll be working with project leader (and dear art buddy and friend) Tina Westerkamp as well as with local high school students who will be hired specifically to work on this project during January and February. I will post photos from this new art adventure each step of the way here on the blog. I am tremendously excited to be a part of an ArtWorks project, as usually their work happens in the summer time when I am feeding my gypsy soul. There is much to keep me busy and engaged artistically between now and Spring 2011. For this I am filled with gratitude.
“Passionless design (read ART here) is like a grill with no propane. If you’re not passionate about what you do, your work will show it, your character will show it, your life will show it, so find some charcoal or do something else.”
The above quote is from a blog I read on occasion called Layers of Meaning put out there by textile artist/ designer Serena Fenton. Visually it is beautiful and the content is always thought provoking and inspiring.
Meanwhile, my friend and fellow artist Tina introduced me to an artist she found named Lisa Kokin who’s use of mixed media in her sculptures and installations is brilliant. Her use of found photographs has me thinking about my own personal family photos and a potential long term project involving the use of these photos printed on fabric… more to come on that later.
Next week another dear artist-friend, Lisa, is going to show me how to make some blank books. This is exciting as not only will they potentially make great gifts but the skill will also be a natural progression in my sketchbook work as artist and teacher.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by passionate artists in my sphere of friendship who are constantly inspiring me with their work and abilities, which they readily share with me. And often it is through my friendships that I discover artists whose use of materials or content inspire my own work.
Go find your passion….