I busted this out during a sleep deprived, burst of inspiration at school. It’s collaged paper, acrylic paint, silk thread, oil crayon, tape and glue. It measures about 40 x 40 inches.
A lot has changed in a few short months. The most obvious change may be that my website is redesigned and now has an integrated store where my paintings can be purchased. I feel very good about it. It was time to clean things up. I’m learning more about wordpress, SEO and optimizing art portfolio sites, which leads me to the other changes.
I no longer work for Whole Foods Market as a store artist. I spent over two years there. When I moved to Asheville I knew very few people here. When I landed the job as a designer and chalk artist I didn’t just gain a job. I also gained a community. My store was nestled right up against downtown and in a busy neighborhood. I learned about my new city by working there, getting to know regulars and spending time with my coworkers. Change is good, but I am glad I spent that time there. It helped me create a home.
I am now spending more time in my art studio, writing articles, starting up a local sketch group and freelancing in social media marketing. I am helping other artists build an online presence, find new audiences and increase their sales. It’s pretty much what I already used to do for Jason quietly behind the scenes. It’s been fun. I like it. I want to continue this kind of work. I learn something new everyday to help others and myself.
I’ve updated my portfolio with the help of a good friend with a good camera. If you check out the fine art section you will see photos of paintings I have completed the past two years. It feels good to share them. I like being able to look back on them and know that I’ve been moving in a direction this whole time of transition, heart ache and adventure.
Ms. Ethel Levesque, my old lady calico, has joined me and Cat Chaplin in my little apartment. I am now a single woman with two cats. I’m okay with that. They are good company. I think the worst thing about it is Ethel has taught Chaplin how to open cabinets. He now paws them open and bangs the doors in protest if I am not providing him the kind of attention he wants and when he wants it.
I’m learning how to manage my time to be more productive. It’s a weird thing to have time to work in my studio. I think it bewildered me at first, but now I’ve accepted my new circumstances and have started a new body of work! I am not the artist I want to be, perhaps I never will be. I am a firm believer that if you are always satisfied with the quality of your work, that might mean you have stagnated and are not progressing. That said, I am excited! I feel that I’ve broken some of my own barriers. I’m applying the lessons I’ve learned and am getting to watch myself create work a few steps closer to what I want it to be.
I’m not afraid of my art studio anymore. Does that sound weird? Has anyone else been afraid of being alone with their work?
Now that winter is here I find my work reflecting the cold decay of outside. I’ve gathered my little forest trash and treasures around me, all brown, dry and brittle, to tell new stories.
I had a hometown friend visiting me in Asheville last week. Even though I was working everyday I did my best to show him around town. One of the spots I walked him through was Woolworth Walk, the art and craft gallery/old fashioned soda fountain. I’m guilty of speed browsing these type of group galleries, but this time, for the first time probably, two artists’ work grabbed a hold of my short attention span.
First there was John Nebraska’s gallery space. I don’t think I have it in me to wax poetic about his work. To put it simply, it made me happy. I wasn’t sure of his methods or medium, but after looking him up online, it appears he is a commercial illustrator. His commissioned work seems to be digital. His fine art, the pieces I was looking at, are a mix of acrylic paints, pastels, collage, and probably more.
Part of the joy of finding Asheville art I love is knowing that the person who created it is part of the small world I’m living in. They are walking about, thinking about creating their pictures, anonymously, quietly. I don’t know them, but they are puttering around town beside me.
And then pottery, for the first time ever, caught my eye. I don’t mean I don’t like or respect pottery. I absolutely do, but it’s not what usually pulls me. As a painter, I think I naturally enjoy looking at and inspecting the flat.
The cups and plates of Mud Stuffing Pottery really amused me. I think it was the clean shapes and whiteness, layered with what I assume is a collage and glaze type technique of found images. There are layers to the simplicity.
My plan for a while has been to blog about local art I find in Asheville, and not just from white walled exhibitions. There is a lot going on here. Most businesses seem to try to incorporate local art into their decor. Below are some pieces I’ve seen on display at Harvest Records, a local indie record shop near my place in West Asheville. It took me a while to figure out who the artist was. There wasn’t any attribution tags below the works which was a bit frustrating. Maybe if I was truly a local I’d already know who she was. I stumbled across her work looking at other local profiles on instagram. She goes by Alligoodart and you can see more of her work on her instagram feed. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume her name is Alli Good.
It’s interesting to me that I immediately had the gut assumption that this work was created by a man. The grotesque stylization and bright, acidic colors are things I associate with male artists. It reminded me of work by Ryan Heshka, Travis Lampe, and Gary Basemen, but then I realized another artist it reminded me of was Camilla Rose Garcia, a woman, not exactly of course, but they are all in the same extended family. The detail on the turtle necks, painted patterns of strawberries and cherries, should have clued me into the work being created by a woman. I remember growing up wearing such things usually paired with too tight corduroy pants.
In the end though, it doesn’t matter what the gender of the artist it. It’s just interesting to examine your immediate assumptions about anything.
Please check out her instagram feed. She seems to update it very frequently with not just paintings, but tons of ink drawings. Hooray for gross art! Our bodies are itchy and prickly vehicles that makes all sorts of funky fluids and noises. Girls are especially under pressure to deal with monthly weirdness all while expected to pretend our bods are fragrant and soft spring meadows. Okay, I’m being silly, but it’s true. I just like art created by girls that pokes fun at bodies.
When I first moved to Western North Carolina I was studying full-time and didn’t have time for a regular job. To earn some extra spending cash, I posed regularly for local artists and drawing groups. I haven’t had the time to do it much lately.
Having a full-time job makes it difficult to be on call, but lately I have been sitting for artist and my former instructor, Angela Cunningham.
It’s a slow process but an amazing one to see come together. Every step is important in order to create a successful end product, which is in this case, a large format all graphite drawing, and perhaps also an oil painting. She’s done a few color studies as well, one of which is shown below.
As a figure model, I never have much expectation or investment in the work completed based on my posing. I know it’s not actually about me. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if the likeness isn’t there, or if it’s not particularly flattering, but sitting for Angela has been a unique pleasure because of her skill. It’s one of the few times I’ve allowed myself some satisfaction and expectation for the final piece. I really can’t wait to see how it turns out and feel honored to be a part of her body of work.
The above is one of my favorite pieces of her work. It is titled Silence. I love this painting not just because it’s beautiful, or that I’m partial to skulls, but also because the moth in the lower right hand corner is a polyphemus moth I found fluttering while it died on a hot night the first summer I had moved here. It reminds me of how exciting that time was and how beautiful, for both good and bad reasons, my experience here has been.
I have a tendency to drown in other’s work. I have a hard time balancing being inspired and being paralyzed by how beautiful someone else’s work is. There are more working artists now than probably any other time in history all competing for an audience. Below are some of my latest or long time favorites.
All the below pieces are produced by contemporary artists I admire. They all inhabit a similar space in me in how I categorize artists and work. All very different but stir up similar feelings. Contemporary and antique. Like opening an old book full of yellowed pages and secrets.
I feel that all these works are successfully part of the long conversation of art history. They look backwards and forward.
They remind me just a bit of looking into a miniature diorama, a view finder, all a scene of a single piece of work or play. They all also seem to share a similar balance of warm and cold golden browns.
I’m going to try to blog more about my influences as a way to organize my own thoughts and to help me understand what it is what I want to achieve as well.
Life is different. Life is interesting. Life is a bit hard to keep up with.
I’m on my last month of officially studying with Angela Cunningham at Marshall High Studios. It’s time to find a full time job and figure out a schedule to allow me to continue self study. I believe I will stay in Marshall for the time being. I like the quiet and slower pace. Things aren’t frantic here. I feel myself slowing down as well. A sense of urgency will always be part of me, but it is nice living somewhere that doesn’t exacerbate it. This place is full of quiet moments of meaning. Or maybe it’s just helping me focus on the moments that are already there but that I usually miss.
I love the sound of the French Broad always rushing within ear shot. I’ve never lived somewhere that has smelled so sweet. The spring flowers have melted like heated sugar, but now summer blooms like orange lilies and trumpet flowers are replacing them. I may be alone much of the time, but there are always lightening bugs to keep me company.
I’ve met good people. My studio mate Dan has been a great comfort and an easy friend. My roommates, Frank(another amazing artist) and Zane, have been a wonderful surprise. Having Chelsey, a friend from Norfolk, here eased my transition.
To help fund good times and my coffee needs I’ve been posing for drawing groups in the evenings, specifically for Lawter Studios and Ben Long’s drawing group. It’s been an interesting experience being on the other side of the canvas. It’s been a valuable lesson. I have found figure modeling easy in surprising ways and extremely hard in others. My feelings of exposure disappeared almost immediately. I came to realize that modeling for a drawing group is not about me at all. It’s the parts, not the sum of them.
I feel that I’ve learned a lot, and very quickly, while studying drawing with Angela. I have learned to appreciate and maybe even like graphite when before I avoided it in favor of charcoal. In the past I have been very heavy handed while drawing. I always seemed to be scoring the surface of my paper. While here I have grown much more delicate with the amount of pressure I use while drawing. My perception of value has always been a big source of frustration for me. I have by no means fixed this problem, but have made the steps towards increasing my sensitivity to it. I’m physically stronger as well. In the past I haven’t made myself stand while drawing. I’m required to now. At first the pain in my back and legs was incredibly distracting, but it eventually eased off. I’m stronger. I see more clearly. I translate. I’ve taken painful steps in the right direction.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle drawing bargue plates and doing cast drawings. They seemed inaccessible before coming here. I didn’t understand the process. Now, while not terribly skilled yet, I feel like I have the tools and vocabulary to unlock this mysterious method of learning. There is nothing magic about it. Just like most things, it’s hard work and discipline, but possible. Feeling that it’s possible makes all the difference. I have less fear.
I miss my friends in Norfolk and Philly. I miss my step children and life in Virginia, but I am also happy.
I’m proud to announce my step son and his girlfriend’s two person show to be held Saturday June 1st at Grow Interactive. It is their senior art show for the Governor’s School of the Arts. Virginia will have her paintings and illustrations displayed and Ian will be showing his animated movies.
I am also going to have my piece Psychic Device on display at the second Speaking in Tongues show at Black Vulture Gallery in Philadelphia this June 7th.
SPEAKING IN TONGUES II
Black Vulture Gallery proudly hosts the Opening Reception of “Speaking in Tongues II”, a group show of the wicked and the weird in a terrifyingly tasteful display of some of the best artists in Philly as well as from afar. Curated by BUDDY NESTOR!!
live music by::
A raging good time with killer artwork, kicking off summer right!!
Refreshments by the ever delicious and creative brewers at Barry’s Homebrew Outlet!!!!