Live the Artsy

Dreaming. An Art Studio Reading Nook.

It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

What to do while the paint is drying?  If I have a comfy spot, I’ll grab a book and catch up on some reading. 

As I’m daydreaming (a lot these days) about what my permanent studio will look like, I’m definitely conjuring up a cozy reading nook tucked in amongst the paint and canvas.

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Here’s how the perfect studio morning would go– I step out my backdoor and take a leisurely walk to my studio among the trees. 

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After painting for a few hours, as I wait for the paintings to dry, I make a cup of coffee and curl up in my reading nook with a book.  Maybe an artist biography (this Joan Mitchell bio is so good) or maybe I’ll just flip through a book of work by a favorite painter, like this book of Georgia O’Keeffe watercolors.

Of course, I dream about what that cozy little space will look like!

Studio nook collageimages found here here and here

Light walls, wooden floors, fresh, cozy, textured, warm.  A place with plenty of natural light (good for reading and painting!) and an atmosphere of sweet calm. 

Since I’m daydreaming, why not be specific?  So I spent a little time on the Arhaus website and put together the elements of my dream studio nook!  PS- Make sure to check out all their lighting options— so important for good reading! AND during their storewide sale this month 10% of the purchase price of all lighting and accessory mirrors will go to Global Dental Relief. 

Arhaus collage finalI think if you can’t go just a bit funky in an art studio, well, where can you?  And a few of these may be a bit too nice for studio life, but a girl can dream right?!

  1. Painting, Shadow On the Wall by Lesley Frenz. Must make sure furniture matches the artwork!
  2. Rug, Zayne 8×10 Grey Rug by Arhaus.
  3. Chair, Dori 31″ Upholstered Chair in Madeline Gold by Arhaus. For guests, but more likely the cat.
  4. Light, Wooden Prism 22″ Chandelier by Arhaus. Don’t forget, buy this baby & that’s almost $70 to GDR!
  5. Pillow, Boho Ivory Applique Pillow by Arhaus.
  6. Sofa, Fiona 97″ Upholstered Tufted Sofa in Brussels Rosewood  by Arhaus. I dream of velvet tufted sofas!
  7. Chest, Teal Ming Cabinet by Arhaus. For book & blanket storage, obvi.
  8. Ottoman, Gentry 50″ Upholstered Bench in Aliz Indigo by Arhaus. Somewhere soft for the tired footsies.
  9. Mug, Black & White Tumbler by Studio Joo. Coffee tastes better when sipped out of something beautiful.
  10. Throw, Faux Fur Brown Feather Throw by Arhaus. Something extra cozy for cold days in the PNW!
  11. Pillow, Stone Washed Velvet Rectangular Pillow in Stone by Arhaus. Never enough pillows in my world.

Just thinking about this space and doing this exercise has me so very excited to settle into a permanent studio next year! I have no idea what it will look like or where it will be, but there will be books and coffee and pillows. Oh yes, there will most definitely be!

Image sources linked above.

 

Artsy at Work

Wearing. My Studio Style.

Every artist has their own style, not just in the work itself, but in the way they work.  What we wear in the studio has as much to do with our personal style as it does with our working style.  Messy painters and sculptors probably don’t wear precious clothing or jewelry in the studio!

My own personal studio style is an extension of what I like to wear every day.  I don’t like changing clothes throughout the day and since I work freelance from home, I can pretty much wear whatever I like.  I do, however, like to feel “ready” to work– I never roll out of bed in my pjs and get to work.  Putting on my studio clothes is as much a signal to get down to painting as putting on my favorite music.

So what do I wear in the studio?  Comfy clothes and shoes for a start.

My favorites are a t-shirt or tank under an oversized flannel or chambray with stretchy leggings.

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I layer up because mornings here in the PNW are usually chilly but if I’m working hard, I’ll soon need to strip off that top layer. Fashion faux pas or not, leggings let me move easily and comfortably and they are my fave.  I buy the cheapies from Target so I don’t feel guilty when they end up with paint on them. 

Since living in the PNW, I can wear my most comfy old boots in the studio for most of the year.  

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In the warmer summer months, I opt for cheap flip flops I don’t mind getting paint and medium all over.  Although, this year I’ve noticed a difference in the way my legs feel after wearing the flip flops in the studio all day so think I need to find a more orthopedically friendly choice.. ugh. Getting old is for the birds, ya’ll.

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I always wear an apron in the studio– since we’re traveling light, my clothes need to be able to do double duty, so I can’t really have a set of clothes just for the studio.  A sturdier apron works best for me, since I tend to use a lot of glazing medium, which has a heavy, glue like consistency and will go right through thinner aprons (which I discovered the hard way).  

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I rarely remember to remove my rings and watch before I start working, but find that acrylics clean up off them easily enough if I get super messy. 

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How about you? What’s your best get down to work wear?

Side note: All those artists I see on Instagram painting in bikinis or cute dresses and heels? No way you’re actually painting in that.  Let’s be real with ourselves and each other.

All images by me.

 

Artsy at Work

Finding ECHOES. The Soundtrack.

Subtle. Melodic. Mellow. A few of the keywords describing one of my favorite songs to listen to when painting my ECHOES series. 

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Music plays an important role in my creative process.  Putting on my favorite Pandora station triggers my brain that it’s time to paint.  Listening to music that suits the feeling of the work I’m creating helps me get lost in the act of creating, to find that state of flow. 

I wanted my ECHOES work to be peaceful but luscious, deep and mysterious.  The music I listen to has a lot to do with how those pieces come to be.  Here are a few of my favorites that help me realize just the right atmosphere to create an ECHOES painting–

If you’d like to create a similar station on Pandora, I began with Wailin’ Jennys as my first artist, weeding out anything too twangy/country/corny and opting for softer, more melodic folky music.  Other artists I love on the station in addition to the ones above– Patty Griffin, Crooked Still, Norah Jones, Dar Williams, Dixie Chicks, The Duhks, Grace Potter.. I could go on and on! 

I’d love to hear what music you listen to while creating and how it influences your own work.  Tell me all about it in the comments!

Fun fact:  The titles for my acrylic paintings are all song lyrics.  See if you can figure out where your favorites come from!

sweet peace I & II, acrylic on canvas, 36×36 each

 

Artsy Happenings Exhibitions

Showing! Pop-Up at Seattle Art Source

September has been a super busy month, ya’ll!  My work has been poppin’ up from New Hampshire to Seattle, but this coming weekend, it’s an actual POP-UP!

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Friday & Saturday, September 22nd & 23rd, there will be a one-time Pop-Up show of my latest work at the Seattle Art Source showroom in the International District in Seattle.  New acrylic paintings from both my ECHOES & LEMOLO series, as well as large & small watercolors on cradled panel will be on display inside the SAC showroom, showcased with Plank & Grain’s gorgeous reclaimed wood furnishings.

I will be in the showroom gallery on Saturday, 9/23 from 11am-1pm and would love to meet you in person!  I’ll have my watercolors with me, so you may even catch me doing a little watercolor sketching!

For directions to Seattle Art Source and showroom hours, click here.  Hope to see you on Saturday!

Images by me.

Artsy Happenings Exhibitions

Showing! ICON at Lynn Hanson Gallery

Hi friends and especially Seattle area folks!  A new painting from my LEMOLO series has been chosen to be a part of the juried group show, ICON, opening at Lynn Hanson Gallery on Thursday, September 7th.

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The Mountain Comes To Me, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 20x20x1.5

Since being in the Tacoma/Olympia area for nearly a year, we’ve spent a good bit of time exploring around Mount Rainier.  This summer, while camping at Cougar Rock, we took a few strolls at dusk at the base of the mighty mountain and I was awestruck once again by her presence.  The Mountain Comes To Me was painted the following week.

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view of mount rainier from the nisqually vista trail at paradise

The ICON show opens during the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square where dozens of galleries and venues stay open late for your art browsing pleasure.  Lynn Hanson Gallery will be open for First Thursday from 5pm-8pm and there will be an Artists Reception & Awards event on Saturday, Sept 16th, from 4-7pm.  I won’t be able to make it to the First Thursday opening, but Mr. F and I will be at the gallery for the artists reception on the 16th– come by and say hi! 

If you’re in Seattle for First Thursday or if you’d just like to see the show in person, drop by Lynn Hanson Gallery, 312 S Washington St, Sept 7-30th to see the show! For purchase information, please contact Lynn Hanson Gallery at 206-960-2118.

Images by me.

Artsy Happenings

Opening! Enormous Tiny Art #22.

Since beginning the #100littleartworks project way back in 2016, I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my love of watercolors.  I’m excited to announce that six new watercolors on Aquaboard panel are part of my second showing with Nahcotta Gallery in Enormous Tiny Art #22 opening this Friday, September 1st!

Photo Aug 15, 4 06 49 PMwaterbound I and VI, watercolor and cold wax on aquaboard panel, 7×5 art in 10×8 white float frame

I’ve been exploring watercolors beyond paper and have completely fallen for Ampersand Aquaboard panels.  The surface reacts much the same way as watercolor paper, but unlike paper, they can be displayed without glass once sealed.  These watercolors on panel are sprayed with fixative and then, for extra protection, coated with a cold wax finish.

To see all of the Waterbound series available at Nahcotta, check out my artist page on their website.  Work is available for pre-show purchase now and the show will be up in the Portsmouth, NH gallery until September 30th.

Image by me.

This Artsy Life

Living. Live Work Studios.

What our eventual home space will look like is a major topic of conversation for Mr. F and I.  We’re on our 15th(!) living space in 6 years of traveling and with each new home we discover what works for us and what doesn’t. 

Since amping up my studio practice in the last several years, having space to paint has become more and more important for my happiness as an artist and well, the Mr. knows that happy wife=happy life.  For our permanent living situation, we’ve talked about an in-home studio, backyard studio, and off-site studio.  But lately, we’ve been seriously thinking about a live/work studio home.

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Even when I have a little studio area, my painting paraphernalia always seems to find its way out into the other living areas.  We don’t want a huge house with wasted space, so why not combine our living space with my work space?  

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Mr. F isn’t picky and he’s super low maintenance, not minding the thought of basically living in a big artist’s studio.  All that he requires is a comfortable bed, sofa, and well-functioning kitchen.  We both prefer spaces that aren’t precious– none of that “furniture you can’t sit on” for us.  So I think we’d be OK with knowing there may be random paint splatters happening.

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With that said, I’m a pretty neat painter– I always wash my brushes and keep my studio pretty clean and organized.  So I think we wouldn’t have to worry too much about living in a disaster zone.

Southern living studio found here

Ikea studiofound here

We’re still a few years away from settling down, so we have lots of time to ruminate on this option.  Any of my artist readers work/live in the same space?  I would love to hear your experiences!

All images sources linked above.

ECHOES series Inspiration

Finding ECHOES. Inspiration.

Water, water, everywhere. The abundance of water is a big part of what draws me to the Pacific Northwest. Here we have rivers, sound, sea, alpine lakes, streams, waterfalls, the mighty Pacific Ocean, all within reach.

Some of my favorite childhood memories happened around water– time spent at my aunt and uncle’s lake house in Florida continue to influence me as an adult. It was there that I spent mornings and afternoons– always a break for lunch and then a “rest” before more swimming, my aunt was a firm believer in that whole no swimming an hour after eating, much to my childhood frustration– in the cool, dark water. 

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For nearly a year now (the longest I’ve yet to spend focused on one series), I’ve been painting ECHOES, my abstract interpretations of what happens above, beneath, and upon the water’s surface. When we would go out exploring, I was finding myself taking photos of the water itself, instead of the scene as a whole.

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I was fascinated by the way you could almost detect a sense of another landscape in the reflected surface, but it was often distorted and abstracted by the angle of view, ripples in the water, or fog upon the surface. 

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It’s these abstractions and distortions that most fascinate me. I’m not interested in an exact replication, but what I find happening is that the more I look, the more I see, and the more it pours out in the work.

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You can see the latest of my ECHOES paintings on my website. I’m starting on two large canvases this week.  I can’t wait to dive in!

All images by me.

 

This Artsy Life Tools

Makeshift. Backpacking With Watercolors.

Do you remember the scene in Wild where Reese Witherspoon can’t stand up under the weight of her pack?  Every backpacker knows that weight is everything.  Every ounce you add to your pack is an additional strain on your legs and back as you hike, which makes what should be an amazing, beautiful experience painfully agonizing. 

Mr. F & I splurged on a brand new pack for me and decided at the last minute to take a quick overnighter along the Elwha River Trail in  Olympic National Park.  

Me and my pack, Elwha River

It was so last minute, I didn’t have a tiny sketchbook to carry with me and I wanted to be able to do some watercolors when we had downtime.  So industrious artsy that I am, I decided to create a makeshift watercolor kit for backpacking.

First task– create a sketchbook.  The Mr.’s job recruiter recently came to visit & brought us some branded goodies– among them a few pocket journals, which just happened to be the perfect size for backpacking (remember, size matters! ha!).  I ripped out the lined journal paper, then cut a few pieces of Canson Mixed Media paper to size, securing them inside with a heavy rubber band, recycled from grocery-bought veggie bundles (I always keep some on hand, they come in so handy!)

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It worked perfectly– and as an added bonus, it is lighter than a moleskin would be and the pages will be easily removable as I fill them– so it will continue to lighten the more I hike & paint! 

Onto the paint itself. I already had a super light weight flower-shaped watercolor palette with a lightweight cover. So I filled the wells with my favorite tube colors and let them dry out before packing them up.  I zipped the palette up in a ziploc, to protect all my other things just in case there was any paint leakage.  

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A small, inexpensive brush is sufficient for tiny quick sketches. I hacked off about an inch from the end so that it would fit easily in a quart-sized ziploc with my sketchbook without bending the bristles. That ziploc was then placed inside the freezer-sized ziploc with my palette and a small plastic water cup. I also bring along a folded paper towel for blotting. Viva brand towels work best– light and super absorbent, so I can do lots of blotting and cleaning up without soaking the towel through.

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Everything worked like a charm!  I may eventually switch out the palette for something more secure, perhaps with a larger mixing area (I like this option, the thumb hole would make it much easier to hold onto), but for now, it does the trick.  We’re hoping to do another overnighter this weekend along the Sol Duc River, follow me on Instagram for photos!

Here’s a clip of me getting ready for a backpacking adventure.. :-) 

Artsy Happenings

Opening! Enormous Tiny Art #21

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on some new SCINTILLA paintings, just in time to be included in the Enormous Tiny Art Show #21 opening this Friday, March 3rd at Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, NH!

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scintilla 14, 2017, acrylic on cradled wood panel, 4x4x1.5

This new group of SCINTILLA mini paintings are a bit of a departure from the last group– still minimal in design and palette, but instead of varying the hues with each painting, I kept to a seaside color scheme, inspired by the Puget Sound and the coastal Northeast.

You can see the new series in person at Nahcotta or check them all out online here!  The show runs through April 2nd and all the work is available to purchase both in the gallery and online.

Image by me.