Tag Archives: art

change is good.

new digsNew digs. New school. New outlook on how things get done. This year has been full of new ways of doing things. I concluded my first year of graduate school. I left the gallery I had previously been at for three years. I’m five months into my tenure as president of my professional organization. And as usual, I’m still trying to break myself of the habit of wanting to do all the things.

Attending graduate school effectively ended my ability to pay my own rent without borrowing six-figures in student loans. My parents were kind enough to offer me a place to live while I embarked on my educational journey. Mom and dad are cool people. We get along, we stay out of each other’s way. But as a 32 year old woman who has worked on her own most of her life, it’s definitely different. There is something comforting about being back home. My parents are very supportive, loving people. The positives are living in a comfortable house with a killer backyard. They see my struggles with school and everything else first-hand and are always there to give me advise. There are some little things we all do that get on each others’ nerves. But the idiosyncrasies are few and far between.

Probably the coolest thing they did for me was build out an art studio off of the kitchen. In December of last year, I left the gallery I had been with for three years. I don’t mean for it to sound like an ugly breakup. It was more of a semi-mutual decision to go in different directions. My friend wanted to use my space for additional retail sales. I wanted the rent money back in my pocket. It was a warm and fuzzy parting of ways. But…the fact still remained that I was a studio-less artist in need of a place to work {and store my mountain of supplies}. Out of the kindness of their hearts, my parents built out the new studio. It’s small. But it has operable windows, which is a rarity in an old house. So I have a place to work, but am navigating the ways of selling my art without the ease of the instant exposure of a gallery. I’m having to learn to use online platforms such as etsy and paypal. In the meantime, I’m trying not to produce more than I can store, which is not a whole lot.

Fortunately, I’ve only had to worry about this in recent weeks. Graduate school is the ultimate distraction from everything else you want to do and need to do on a daily basis. Is your car broken down? It can set in your driveway, you’ve got a project due. Are your bangs growing down to your chin? Cancel that haircut because you’ve got a meeting for a group project. Sleep? Yeah, that’s cute.

This was my first semester of studio classes in the interior program. I should say this was not my first rodeo. My undergraduate program was a rigorous schedule including twelve studios over the course of five years. I’m definitely seasoned. But, interior design is a different animal. So different, that I would say I dramatically over-estimated my capabilities in terms of completing projects. I also took on four classes, which I will never attempt again. Ever. I had the option to say no when my advisor suggested it. But hey, when it comes to dramatic change, my M.O. is to often learn in the most stressful way possible. I’m trying to change that behavior, but it’s a long process. I persevered with two As and two Bs, in fact. But in those good grades were some valuable, but extremely hard lessons learned about my capability and what it is to say no for your own sake. I’ll likely write a more detailed blog post on this subject later.

I’m carrying some of those lessons learned from the past semester into how I approach my life in general. After school was over, my first instinct would have been to stack in as much as possible. It’s hard for me to say no, especially if it’s for a friend or family member. But I’ve been saying it. All the time. Instead of filling my schedule with to do’s for other people, I’ve taken a good hard look at what I want – the things I want to do. The things I need to do.

As a result, I’m making some other major changes to put myself in a position to really get everything I can out of my remaining time in school. Clearing my schedule in such a way that my classes will actually be fun. Sure, I will be really busy. But, I’m looking for working smarter, not harder, rather than  endless paddling. I’ve also changed my outlook on my artwork. I’m switching to a more volume based approach – smaller pieces without compromising quality or price. No big solo exhibitions or investing in mammoth canvases that get warped sitting in my dads’ shed. I’m reawakening my online avenues to build a steady presence, rather than forget about it for a year only to spend weeks re-working my blog and wonder where my money is.

It’s not easy to do everything. And in the end, I won’t be able to stretch myself that thin. But, I’m figuring out what I need to do to achieve my goals. Along the way, there’s plenty of time to indulge in the things I want to do as well. The rest of the year holds a lot of potential. I aim to capitalize on it.

more cambodia.

The Cambodia painting is coming along quite nicely. I’ve added most of the detail along the ground plane. Now, it it’s time for one of my favorite parts: adding detail to the walls of the ruins. It’s kind of slow going, as I have to do some research as to what type of relief will appear Cambodian. Like the Indian painting, I love adding these delicate details. Overall, I’m very excited about the progress.

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more watercolor.

I learned about a wonderful book while taking my class at the art museum. It’s entitled ‘Water Paper Paint’, by Heather Smith Jones. Annnnd I love it.

The book is filled with all kinds of projects for the creative person. You don’t have to be an artist to do any of this stuff. As for me, I plan on trying out every project in here. There are many pages of basic information that preface the projects. So if you are not familiar with watercolor, Jones tells you everything you need to know before getting started.

I was mesmerized by one project in particular. It’s a study in pattern, color, and working with brushes of different sizes. It’s a series of glassy blobs, tied together with black dots. I know it sounds a little crazy. But here are the results….

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I love it so, so much that I am exploring a series. These are not difficult to complete and therefore, inexpensive to create. I think I will get a bunch of them framed to sell for Christmas. Believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg with this book. I plan on experimenting with more projects in the future. I highly recommend this book for any creative spirit.

re-discovering watercolor

Throughout high school, I painted with watercolors all the time….really, that’s about all I used. I loved the watery texture. However, I also learned to control my paint such that it almost resembled the consistency of acrylics. I did all kinds of on site competitions and entered many exhibitions to showcase my abilities.

Even though I was a prolific artist in school, I realized that I needed a more technical, focused degree to build a career after college. That path was Landscape Architecture. My minimum requirement of course hours to graduate was hefty {162 hour minimum to be exact}. Although I took tons of design classes, fine art had to take a back seat.

To make a very long story very short, when I left my 8 to 5 design job to pursue art, watercolor was a skill I was eager to recapture. If you’ve ever tried it before, you know it isn’t easy. And just as with anything else, it takes tons of practice.

Needless to say, I was pretty rusty. To sharpen my rusty skills, I enrolled in a beginning art class at our local art museum. It’s a very basic class. However, it’s given me some foundational elements that I was missing when I first started. It’s awakened my enthusiasm for the medium again. My plate is full of acrylic paintings right now. But, I am also making a lot of room for watercolor. I’m excited to begin some new projects and see where they go!

It just comes down to the fact that sometimes, you need a little continuing education. Like any other field, there are always new techniques to learn….and old concepts to brush up on. If you find yourself lost, or in a creative rut sign up for one of these classes. At first glance, it may seem redundant. But, I can assure you, something can always be learned.

Below are the results of my class.

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first friday

Today is First Friday on Paseo! For those of you unaware, The Paseo is a quirky arts district nestled in the lower northwest side of Oklahoma City. Back in the day, it was the hang out for Oklahomas’ counter culture….you know, hippies. Long after the hippies grew up to be squares, the neighborhood fell into a sort of disrepair. The area surrounding the ‘main drag’ of quaint, brightly colored stucco buildings, was known for violence. Many people were mugged, robbed, and all sorts of other horrible things. To make a very long story really short, a combination of the influx of development, new business, and concerned community members helped to put the district on a course correction for better things.

Today, The Paseo is a vibrant artist community filled the galleries, restaurants, open space, and activities. One such activity is ‘First Friday Gallery Walk’. All the art galleries stay open until 10pm to exhibit work from local and national artists. My favorite part is that most galleries feature a specific show for First Friday. So, you’ll see brand new work at most galleries.

I’m particularly excited about my gallery, though. Our renovations are complete. The retail section is already doing great. A beautiful show hangs in the anterior space, ready to be received by the public. I hope it’s packed! If you’re local, please come visit us on Paseo. I promise you’ll be hooked!

Current show {FRINGE: Reverie} at AKA Gallery for First Friday

Current show {FRINGE: Reverie} at AKA Gallery for First Friday

hello cambodia.

IMG_2195The newest painting in my ‘travel-inspired’ series takes us to Cambodia. I had it in my head that the next painting would be something Balinese. But lately, I’ve been sort of obsessed with the ruins of Angkor in Cambodia. It is an ancient capital city containing sprawling complexes of temples.

My fascination with the site began with a recent National Geographic article comparing the state of the city today, compared to its glory days. The article also showcased beautiful images of ruined temples. Despite the fact they are crumbling, you can still see a lot of finite detail in the walls. They are delicate networks of small rooms that are now exposed to the elements. At one time, the reliefs were probably painted in bright colors. The coolest part though, are the ancient Ficus trees. In the United States, these trees are a far cry from their Asian ancestors. You can see some decent sized Ficus in tropical climates like Florida. However, they are miniature compared to the ones you see in a place like Taiwan.

After many, many years of abandonment, the Ficus trees took back the temple walls. In many cases, the root system of the tree has actually become the wall. Just to give you an idea, I found an example on a computer wallpaper website.

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Just incredible. So this is the next one in the series. Just like with the India painting, I’ll post updates. I have something really cool in store for this one. But, I won’t ruin the surprise. This series includes paintings of places I’ve been and places I dream of seeing. Out of every place I’d like to capture, Angkor is definitely one of the places I absolutely must see for myself.

I hope you enjoy dreaming about it as much as I do.

the elephants are finished.

For the past few months, I’ve worked on my Indian elephant painting. It’s been the subject of many past posts. It’s also very well documented on my business page. But after much detail work, it’s finally finished. And I love it.

IMG_2170The colors are even more vibrant in person. The blankets are detailed with metallic gold paint. Also, at the last minute I added some pink and blue ‘flower petals’ floating around everywhere. The finished painting makes me excited to move onto the next one in the series. I was going to paint a scene from Bali. But now, I’m thinking Thailand.

I’ll have the same process pictures of the next ones up on the blog soon. Happy Monday!

aka gallery re-opening

Last night was the big reopening at AKA Gallery on Paseo!

IMG_2160My family showed up to check it out and support yours truly. The gallery space looks incredible. It’s more light, bright, and open. The show for First Friday in August is a group show by FRINGE. It’s a group of women who create and promote their art. They hung their show early for our opening. MaryAnn and I also have several pieces on the wall for the month.

Our previous arrangement could be described as eclectic. Retail mixed with art and studio space. Now, we have a clearly defined retail space up front. The back is a clean gallery space, with plenty of wall real estate for a visiting artist.

It was so well received. Everyone who attended the soft opening gave rave reviews of the new configuration. We’re so excited to be a part of this new chapter with Ashley. It’s going to be great!

{Pictures of the new space coming soon}

 

the elephants have arrived

 

You may remember earlier posts that document the creation of my newest painting. These types of paintings are slow going. The background elements are several layers of paint. The details also take a while to incorporate. But the results are beautiful.

I don’t think I mentioned how the finished composition will look once everything is done. The idea is that all of my background elements are tone on tone of one color. In this case, it’s orange. Then, I add some sort of foreground element that’s normal, full color.

In this case, the foreground elements are two very ornately decorated Indian elephants.

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IMG_2132All of their details are blocked out in white for now. I want all of the colors to be very opaque when I paint them on. The blankets will be detailed with lots of bright colors. I’ll use metallic gold paint for all of the ‘stitching’.

The details will take a little while. But, now that the elephants are in, the finish line isn’t very far away. I have to take my time. Otherwise, I get impatient and really screw things up. Completing this one makes me excited to move on to the other works. The next countries up are Bali, Japan, and Taiwan. Japan and Taiwan will be modeled after pictures I took during a trip. My hope is to have a large travel series with each country in a different color.

This is the first time in a while that I’ve felt very inspired to paint. I don’t get to travel much these days. But I have in the past. I’m pretty obsessed with traveling in the future. This is kind of my way of going to those places….That is until I can actually go to those places.

friendship bracelets {all grown up}

A few weeks ago, I picked up an issue of Martha Stewart Living on a whim. The cover pictured a crusty loaf of bread, covered in heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes formed a rainbow, from green to red. That’s pretty much the only reason I bought the magazine. In thumbing through the pages {to find the recipe for the cover photo} I stumbled upon a small article entitled: Friendship Bracelets, All Grown Up. The article featured an image of bad ass friendship bracelets. They were more refined than what I remember making. Some had gilded thread, others had small charms, and the colors were more sophisticated.

I was immediately inspired to make some sophisticated fabric jewelry. I figured if I was terrible at it, I would wear my own creations. But if they are beautiful then I can sell them. It’s a win-win. So, I set off to Michael’s to buy embroidery floss.

IMG_2097So many colors. The good news is: embroidery floss is cheap. The bad news is: You don’t get a ridiculous amount in one of those little loops. I just kept telling myself to try a little to see how it goes. I’m extremely impatient when it comes to my art…or anything that could make money.

I bought several colors…

IMG_2099And these are the results…

Keep in mind I’m just experimenting. I’m learning how to make my knots more professional. I would also like to master more ways of treating the ends of the bracelet. I want the ties to have the same artisanal treatment as the knotted area.

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You think to yourself: tying knots isn’t difficult. However, there are subtle nuances to making a bracelet look substantial. The kind of thread you use, the tightness of your knots all contribute to the perceived quality of a piece. I bought regular cotton floss. I also tried some satin floss. I tried to incorporate the satin with the more gritty cotton. It didn’t work very well. The satin unravels easily. The knots aren’t as solid either. Although this obviously wasn’t the best choice of material, I couldn’t resist using it anyway. Except this time, I would make a monochromatic bracelet of only satin thread…

I used the goldenrod color.

IMG_2117I LOVE the way this one turned out. That shiny, silky texture looks especially good as a solid bracelet. You have to work fast, because the knots aren’t as solid. Also, the end knots aren’t holding as well. I’m contemplating burning them a little with a lighter {that’s an old trick to keep pointe shoe ribbons from fraying on the ends}.

I’m going to work my way through all my thread to make a few more bracelets. I’ll see where things are once I have a few examples. I’m always excited to add another craft to my repertoire. And who knows, I could access an untapped market of people just waiting to rediscover friendship bracelets, all grown up.