Event : Art on the Bricks, Downtown Rogers, Thursday September 13th

I’m so happy to announce that I will be at Art on the Bricks in Downtown Rogers at Hark and Herald Co.on Thursday, September 13. I'm so wonderfully excited.

I went to the July Art on the Bricks and saw  amazing art by wonderful local artists but I walked away feeling... {I’m ashamed to even admit this}... angry.  

Angry as in: dissatisfied with my lack of showable work. As soon as I left I felt shame and frustration and scattered: as if someone had gone through my nice normal head space and ransacked it. 

It was a week later while reading through The Artist’s Way that I realized where that anger came from.

“Anger,” Julia Cameron says, “is meant to be listened to. Anger is meant to be respected. Anger is meant to be acted upon.”

And it clicked. My anger was telling me to get myself together. My anger was saying I was a capable and prolific artist. “That could be you,” my anger whispered loud enough for the entire downtown area to overhear, “but it doesn’t just happen. You have to work for it.”

I kept doing my Artist's Way work {for which I owe everyone an update} and a few weeks later Hark and Herald Co.’s owner Cyndie Jacks text me and offered me the space for this pop-up gallery. 

It’s not magic. It’s work. And I’m glad I listened to that anger.  


I will be displaying the mixed media + abstract pieces I was making this past Spring that I call The Opposite of Immersion.

As the heat of the summer starts to decline it feels right to frame these guys up and share the message that being an artist doesn't have to be an all or nothing venture. Yes- one could decide to sell all of her belongings and move to Tibet to make intricate sand paintings... OR one could paint in 15 minute mini-sessions and pay bills and pack boxes and talk to the mailman and write up a grocery list and otherwise do real life. Like me.

There's not one way to "do" art. And that's the beauty of it.

These pieces will go on sale Monday September 10th before they are shown at Hark and Herald Co. The only way to purchase before they are available to the public is to be on my friends and family list. 

 Sign up here.

And thank you for supporting the creative, growing courageous, and occasionally angry me.

Inspiration Trail : South Lake Atalanta

“Let’s stop Mom,” was the demand I pretended was a request as we neared the southern trails of Lake Atalanta.

He thought it was a playground but I explained we were at a walking park. After a few minutes of walking the paved park trails we found our way to the trails I think of as the “mountain bike trails”. But they’re not. They’re trails. For everyone. 

And though my brain knows this {the same brain that has read the trail signs that say, “Bikers should yield to hikers,”}, I forget. I think, “I’m not a hiker. I’m a mom in a dress and flats. I’m not sure that counts. This really isn’t my place.” 

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 But it is my place. The leaves over my head and the smell of dirt in my nose something a little bit mysterious in front of me on a trail and I’m in the same curious and utterly free headspace I’ve inhabited since I was young. 

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This is my reminder to self that both of us, my son and I, need that smell in our noses and that mud on our shoes as often as possible. 

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Inspired by : Katherine Kellgren

If you’ve known me longer than 15 minutes you’ve probably heard me praise audible and how audiobooks allowed me to become a reader again after being “too busy” for too long.

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However, it was just this week that I realized that now I’m a true audiophile because it’s an art form in itself. The Royal Spyness series is my best example of this. A little British murder mystery, a little Royal Family fun, a splash of history between the two greats wars : this series will never land in the tomes of great literature but they are perfect fun.

I was {excuse me while I count} ten books into the series when I found out the narrator had died of cancer. This past week I listened to her narrate the eleventh book and cried when I realized that these characters that I have come to love will never sound the same again. The slightly prissy main character, her scandalous best friend, the dark and handsome Irish rogue... all voiced by the same person, all with totally different accents and manners of speech. {I am only slightly ashamed to admit I was/ am partially in love with her Irishman Darcy.}

Voice acting: this wonderful soul Katherine Kellgren had whatever “it” is that makes a successful voice actress. And I mourn the fact that this earth no longer has her beautiful talent. 

Learn more about Katherine Kellgren here and the Royal Spyness series here.

The Business of Art : Social Media Sins

I’ve decided to be bad at social media. Let me explain.

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Since starting a blog in January of 2012 I’ve been learning how to best “do” social media. What platform and what type of media. Video versus photos. Should I post at morning or in the evening? Blogs, SEO, Twitter, Facebook regular, Facebook groups, Facebook events, newsletters, instagram, YouTube, podcasts. I took online classes and went to conferences literally across the nation. All while asking : What’s the best way connect with people? Will this increase my following? How do I best let people know about my creative activities?


At the risk of sounding overconfident, I was good at it. So much so that I eventually got a job running the social media of a large local nonprofit.


Then I had Sam. This didn’t effect my knowledge base as much as it curtailed my proximity to the source. I wasn’t around it as much so I didn’t have to keep up with all the new. And the felt good. I could learn about things on my own timeline but I didn’t have to do all the things.


Except, in a way, I was still doing all the things. I still had the rules and procedures  that I had been absorbing for three years running through my head. And it created a pressure that I didn’t know was there until I took a month long break from Instagram.


Finally starting to hear my own thoughts after being inundated with those of others. And my biggest takeaway is that I need to simplify and give myself parameters.


I will:

post all my things on either this blog or my newsletter and occasionally Instagram and then push it out to the other places.

{This is social media sin number one. One is supposed to have “unique content” on every platform. But if I were making something different for every platform I would have no time to actually make art.}


I won’t answer on mediums that I’m “not looking at” and I will tell people “if you need to contact me do it here or here.”

{This is social media sin number two: having a billboard instead of a two way radio. But once again, time.}


I’m going to stop talking to strangers.

I have built a small but incredibly supportive community. In the past, my posts were, in part, attracting the attention of others who didn’t know about me. Now I realize I enjoy social media most when I I’m taking directly to my people. And I’ll keep making it public in the hopes that someone else will see what’s happening and want to join in on the goodness. {Not having “growth” as a top priority is social media sin number three.}


I’m giving myself the same rules I would give to myself as a teenager. You can post and check your notifications right before you finish up your work day. My addiction {our society’s addiction} to social media has a biological basis. We get a shot of dopamine every time we see a notification come up on our phone. “You are seen. Your existence is validated.” is the message our brains unknowingly send to us when our devices buzz. Knowing that, and seeing the negative effect the constant scroll has on both my mental state and productivity, I choose to treat my social media craving self as a teenager: with respect and parameters meant to be insure health.

{not being constantly available is social media sin number four.}


My goal with implementing these “sins” is to focus on making more. Because that was the whole point when I started creating a blog six and a half years ago and it’s the reason I continue to post now.

My Journey : The Ugly Stuff

I’ve been thinking about showing my work more. Even and maybe especially the bad stuff.


Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram and all the other places we find pretty pictures have conditioned us to to believe that makers are born being amazing. Ie. The internet doesn’t show the time and effort and rejection letters. It doesn’t allow us to take into account the relationships that were dashed upon the rocks of fulfilling a life filled with lots of unknowns. The fruitless late nights or the tears cried in the shower.

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This piece is something that I was initially excited but hesitant about. It was much more detailed than anything I had tried up to that point- Lots of folds and ruffles with the corresponding light and shadow.


I was proud of myself for taking my time with the initial outline and figuring out base shadows. But then I started adding color and my brain just got confused. I realized I was unable to keep value {lights and shadows} at the front of my attention while trying to figure out colors on the piece itself. In the end, it looked like urban camouflage on an outfit Justin Timberlake would have wore circa 1999. I’m not sure I’m able to put in words the disappointment that that comes from unintentionally making JT’s horrendous clothing choices from two decades ago.


And I share because this is the process. This is the part where I learn to pay more attention to my values before I start adding color. This is where I realize I need to mix colors alongside my drawing, not on the piece itself. This is where I remind myself that when I’m in unknown territory I should take breaks so that I can recognize my mistakes before my initial work is not longer recognizable. 


We can’t all be 100% all the time.

Learning growing stretching. It’s important. Even if it is embarrassing.

My Journey : Finding Escalapia

The best advice I was given in regard to building a house was to find a word that was a perfect descriptor and then to base all my choices against that word.


It sounds simple but it wasn’t.

I am eclectic. I like a bit of this and a bit of that. On top of that I have very strong opinions on things I don’t like while I’m often not being able to fully verbalize the reason I do like a certain thing.


The woman who gave me this advice {the wonderful Adrienne of Animal Cracker Studio} noticed that lots of my boards had a Southern California vibe. She suggested I use that as my starting point to find my word.


So: California cabin?

West coast meets flyover?

A little bit country, a lit by rock and roll?

This was much harder than seemed necessary.


It wasn’t until my husband introduced me to the word “Escalapia” that I found my fit.  It was the name of the community that lived on our plateau around the turn of the last century. A community that is no longer there. But, not knowing that, I heard Escalapia and I thought about houses only fairies knew of and intricate sketches to the side of a large abstract painting and ferns and willows and wildflowers. To me it described the contemporary house that I wanted to fill with the colors and textures of the last century.

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Did this have anything to do with formal titles {mid-century modern} or a hashtag {#SoCalCabin} that some national home magazine would love? No.


But it fit. It made me smile.

And best of all: it worked.

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I started around paint choices and realized that Escalapia was natural without being terribly neutral. I took the blue we had previously picked for the cabinet color and found colors that resembled the world outside our picture windows to match: fog rising out of the valleys in the early morning, the deep blue of my husband’s favorite fishing hole, the deep grey of the storm cloud, and crisp white of the frost on an early winter morning.


Later on, I found myself looking at the tile I had already choose and realized, “That star doesn’t work. It’s not Escalapia.”


The brass Moroccan lamp from the antique store downtown? Totally Escalapia.


Contemporary four poster bed? Escalapia only after the addition of white linens and a second hand quilt.

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Other things that are Escalapian-

Storage in natural materials : so that we could do life and then put it the “stuff” of life back in a box

Natural light : to read and make art and play and do all the things that don’t involve screens.

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Unfussy landscaping : the day I remembered I was a plant lover but not a gardener was the day I called the landscape architect and said, “tell me what we should do.” Followed by a call a month later that hat went something like, “give me a very specific watering schedule so I don’t kill it.”

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The aforementioned eclecticism : I realized that my “little bit of this and that” method was good as long as I had parameters. White tile, black plumbing fixtures, and blue kitchen cabinetry were my initial palette. From that it expanded to wood tones and low key stone and the occasional brass element. On top of that I laid on the piece I had inherited from my grandmother and treasures I’ve found.


*** 

 

Adrienne’s site: Animal Cracker Studio

Antique shop in Downtown Rogers: The Rusty Chair

Antique shop in Fayetteville: 410 Vintage Market

Antique shop in Prarie Grove: Southern Mercantile Antiques 

Landscape architect: Bradford Nursery

Bed: Restoration Hardware

Lights: Lighting Emporium Springdale

Bed lounger and side table and dining table: James and James Springdale

Round mirrors and counter height bar stools: Howse

Photos on canvas : Mpix 

Architect: Mathias Pearson