In all my years growing up and as an adult in Florida, I longed for cold winters. I dreamed of snowy days and cozy nights, only getting small doses on quick trips North. Since traveling through the West and Northwest for almost six (!!) years, I’m finally experiencing the seasons as I always hoped to.
I hear people complain about the cold and snow, but for me, it never ceases to be magical.
The streets are quiet, all the bustle of life slows and is muted.
Colors become deeper and more saturated.
Expanses of white bring colors and textures to the forefront, giving them room to breathe, space to show off. This interaction informs and inspires my work more and more as I seek to create paintings that emanate that same sense of peace and quiet.
It’s been a bit since I’ve shared what I’m reading with you! I just finished Judy Chicago’s Through The Flower and wanted to share some quick thoughts I took from her early experiences as a female artist.
Frustrated with the patriarchal structure of the art world, in 1970 Chicago took a faculty position with Fresno State College to teach a women-only art program. The groundbreaking Feminist Art Program provided female artists a platform for creating artwork specific to their experiences as women.
For several years, Chicago immersed herself in the study of other female artists working in abstraction. There is truly nothing new under the sun, but looking back at how other women created and functioned in the male dominated world (both the art world and the world at large) helped give the artist the confidence and commitment to create her own visual language and tradition.
In her early years, Chicago heard a professor tell her class that women had made no contributions to art history. This, along with a sense of equality and justice instilled by her father, propelled her to work tirelessly not only to become an important artist but to become an important, inherently feminine artist. Chicago’s style of feminism is very direct, while the work of other female artists can be more subtle.
As an artist, I find myself feeling like I should be making important statements with my work. But as a person, I’ve never been one for overt statements, though I have definite opinions. Over time, Chicago found her voice. I hope to do the same.
Top image by me. Other image sources linked above.
When I’m in the studio, I’m always listening to something– just what depends on my mood and what I’m working on. Sometimes it’s music, sometimes podcasts. I have a few “go-to” podcasts that I really enjoy and thought you might like a listen if you haven’t tried them out already!
We all know Danielle Krysa as a champion of artists, but it turns out she is also a fantastic interviewer! Danielle spends time chatting with artists over coffee or an adult beverage, getting the low down on their backgrounds, artistic inspirations and aspirations, and fun tidbits like whether they prefer potato chips or chocolate. I’ll take chocolate covered chips!
A painter with a sincere appreciation for the ins and outs of the studio work of other painters, John Dalton’s podcast Gently Does It, is a joy to listen to, especially for gaining insight into the minds of some of the best painters working today. I have a few favorites that I’ve listened to multiple times including Ep. 30 pictured above featuring Alyssa Monks and Ep. 26 and 27 with Ali Cavanaugh.
I have a soft spot for Joshua Tree, California. If you’ve been a longtime reader of AF, you may remember, Mr. F & I spent six months living in JT a few years ago. Joshua Tree has a distinctly creative vibe, which attracts all sorts of artsy folks to the high desert. Emily Silver interviews local JT area artists in their studios, which adds a layer of familiarity to her interviews that isn’t there among the podcasts in which interviewer/interviewee are separated by miles. The artists and Emily both continue to remind me of what an inspiring and magical place Joshua Tree can be.
Gale Straub’s She Explores podcast centers around the experiences of women in the outdoors. Artists, entrepreneurs, and thru-hikers are among her interviewees. Each bringing their own unique experience to the podcast. Listening to the SE podcast makes me want to get outside and if you take your inspiration from nature, like I do, I promise you’ll be inspired!
I’ve been a reader of Young House Love longer than any other blog I’ve followed. Even from before they were YHL (I remember This Young House!). Anyone who reads their DIY blog knows these two are super fun and super cute. Listening to them is like hanging out in your best friend’s kitchen.
They say practice makes perfect, right? Last year’s #100littleartworks project brought me not only a love of watercolors but also to the appreciation for daily creativity, even on the busiest of days. At the end of last year, I began to cultivate the habit of creating everyday, usually in the morning over my second cup of coffee. And so #watercolorsandcoffee was begun!
It’s that time of year for reflecting on the past twelve months. 2016 had it’s troubles for sure, but it was my most creatively productive year yet– a trend I plan to continue into the next!
acrylic paintings completed 64
I began the year working furiously toward completing work for LATITUDE, my first solo show at Art & Light Gallery. The show was a smashing success, which proved to be a huge blessing and a bit of a stumbling block– I had to get over a bit of the “sophomore slump” after LATITUDE. I dove nearly straight away into a new series, VENTERS, a quiet, coastal inspired series. Looking back over VENTERS, I can see myself searching for where I wanted to go with that group of work and the shift that took place over those months. We spent the summer in Edmonds, WA, just a mile from Puget Sound, which took the initial inspiration of the Oregon & California coast and morphed it into the more quiet peace of the Salish Sea.
While working on VENTERS, I began a series of tiny, monochromatic paintings, SCINTILLA. These baby paintings began as a creative exercise to fill the minutes while waiting for paint to dry. But I’ve grown addicted to making them! I was thrilled when they were accepted by Elliott Fouts Gallery for their Small Gems show, which is still up through January 5th!
We spent the Fall living on a small lake in Western Washington, which added fuel to my newest series, ECHOES. Before we left Edmonds, I’d already had the idea of exploring water reflections in my next body of work and it seemed like fate that we ended up living on a lake! We’ve since moved on to Tacoma, but I’m ending 2016 very focused on pouring out all the inspiration I found at the lake during those months.
watercolor paintings completed 110+
A big surprise for me in 2016 was the result of a 100 day painting project. I participated in the #the100dayproject on Instagram and it led to discovering a love for watercolor painting. I began the project with a few small acrylic paintings, but as we were moving the next week, I decided to move to watercolors for their easy accessibility and clean up. And a love affair was born! A goal for 2017 will be to create larger watercolors on paper and experiment with different substrates. I’m not sure I’ll ever give up acrylics but I do love the softness and gracefulness I’ve found with this new medium.
As an artist, I often find myself taking my work too seriously, so I made strides this year toward making time for creative play. #the100dayproject kicked this off, but after I finished the 100 days, I found myself searching for other avenues, specifically ways to combine painting and natural elements, resulting in #foragescapes and #encirclings.
I couldn’t write a review of my year as an artist without mentioning time spent in the wild. Mr. F and I spent a lot of time hiking and camping the North Cascades over the summer, as well as walking down to the Puget Sound countless times while we were in Edmonds. We hiked in the Olympics, Mount Rainier, the Columbia River Gorge, and Goat Rocks Wilderness among so many others. Each place we go enters my subconsciousness and I see them emerging from my brush, uncontrollably.
While 2016 ended with a feeling of uncertainty of the future for so many of us, we forge ahead. I’m excited to be back in the studio post-Christmas holiday working on a commission for a Florida designer and finishing four ECHOES paintings on panel, planning for the next and ordering supplies.
I have my goals for the next year and after seeing such growth last year, I’m beyond excited for what 2017 has in store. I wish the same for you!
One goal will be getting back to sharing in this space more often! Hope to see you more frequently in the new year!
If you’re following along with me on Instagram, you may have seen a new series of tiny paintings I’ve been creating, SCINTILLA.
These 4″ square works on deep cradled wood panel began as an exercise to fill the time while larger paintings dried. I always find myself falling in love with the earliest stage of a painting– the stage in which I paint in a monochromatic palette to work out basic light, contrast, and composition. So I thought these little pieces would be the perfect avenue to explore those monochromes as finished work.
Beginning with one color, then adding white and grey for light and contrast, the compositions emerge intuitively. I try not to begin with a set idea in mind, but instead allow a trace of a landscape to emerge slowly.
The first eight of the SCINTILLA paintings are currently hanging at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento as part of their Small Gems show! Check out the EFG website for pricing and contact information for the gallery.
I’m looking forward to creating more in this series after I get settled into my new studio in Tacoma. Oh yeah, did I not mention we’re headed to Tacoma for the next six months?
I’ll check in again once we get settled! Meanwhile, check out the SCINTILLA series and all the other Small Gems on the EFG website!
I admit, I get a bit jealous when I see artists participating in a fabulous residency in a beautiful place. I’ve applied for a few myself, knowing that with my still limited professional artist experience, gaining a spot in one is a long shot.
But as I was unpacking in our new temporary lakeside home in Washington, it occurred to me– I am in a new “residency” every 3-6 months! Every new place brings with it new experiences and new inspirations, so why not treat each one as my own independent residency?
This place especially, has my creative juices flowing thanks to the beautiful little lake on which we sit. Not to mention the trees, the rocks, the sky.. There is so much to take in!
While I’m here “in residence” on Offut Lake, I’ll be working on a new series, ECHOES, inspired by reflections in water. This idea was already germinating at the end of the VENTERS series and when I began to see how the reflections in the lake change throughout the day, I knew I had found my muse.
Each season, in each place, has its own palette and I find that each informs my work, wherever I happen to be. We’ve spent our spring and summer on the Puget Sound where I’ve been soaking up the way the water glistens, the seagulls call, the foghorns sound.
While here, in addition to the #100littleartworks project, I’ve been painting my VENTERS coastal series. Initially inspired by the wildness of the Oregon Coast and my memories of the beaches and marshes of North Florida, I wanted these paintings to have the palette and reflective transparency of sea glass and sunsets.
As I look back on the completed series, I see the way the work and the palette shifted the longer we were here on the Sound. I’m looking forward to finding my way through the Fall and the changes it may bring in my palette and my way of seeing.
PS– I’m shipping the last of the VENTERS paintings out to Art & Light Gallery very soon! Then onto the next!
I was introduced to Speakarts through my fellow Art & Light artist, Eva Magill-Oliver, as she is one of four artists partnering with Speakarts to combine great sound with great art to create a beautiful way to listen to music.
The final artist partner will be chosen via popular vote on Instagram beginning now through Sunday, July 24th. I would love if you would click over to @speakarts on Instagram here and vote for #2! I would be so excited to see my work as a vehicle for bringing beauty and music into people’s homes! Thanks, friends!