Fall back weekend is my favorite weekend of the year! An extra hour of sleep is always, always a good thing in my book. And even the extra darkness at night meant that Mr. F & I ate an early dinner and enjoyed music and reading while cozied up on the sofa. The shorter days can be a difficult adjustment, but really, I don’t mind so much. Lately, it seems like we need that extra time to wind down and calm our minds.
We are entering our next to last week here in this little corner of the Olympic Peninsula. Mr. F’s contract here will end next Friday and we’ll be moving again, to parts as yet unknown. This is always a bit of a nervous time for us, waiting to hear from recruiters for Mr. F, deciding where to head next.
This quiet little place has been just what we needed following a crazy, fraught-with-life-changing-decisions period in Seattle. Being away from the distractions of the city has helped us in so many ways, not just in the slower, more relaxed pace, but it’s also granted us the gift of time and space– time to be together, time to explore what we want to do, what we want to work on, where we want to be.
There is always a bit of a crossroads type feeling at the end of our time somewhere.. we’re moving forward, but momentarily transfixed as we await direction. Not only are we waiting to see where Mr. F’s career will take him next, but with the launch of Forager Services, opportunities are popping up for me, as well, leading to more decision making turning points.
But if there is one thing that this way of life has taught us, it is that our lives go through seasons, just as the world around us does. Some things, like our love and reliance on each other, remain constant and unchanging, while other things like financial worries and job stresses can be as changeable as the leaves in the Fall. As long as we hold on to the constants, the looking ahead isn’t nearly as scary.
Being nature loving outdoorsy types, Mr. Forager and I sometimes discuss what it would have been like for Adam & Eve– to dwell peacefully with wild animals. Mr. F hopes that being able to interact safely with wild creatures will be one of the perks of heaven. He really really wants to hug a grizzly bear. In her mixed media work, New York based artist Lauren Matsumoto uses unexpected elements to focus on nature and how we relate to it.
The artist uses female figures from vintage erotica among playful and whimsical flora. But there is an element of the looming industrial age, as planes, satellites, and automobiles threaten to intrude and destroy our love affair with nature. How often do we completely unplug? No wifi, no cell phones, no cable t.v. It’s definitely easier said than done, but maybe if we try it, we can recapture some of that peaceable kingdom that once was.
It’s the end of the week, but the beginning of a brand new month! Oh, October, did you have to go so soon? I’ll forgive you, though, because November means a new Featured Artist and she is one of my long-time faves! The work of Vancouver, BC artist M.A. Tateishi explodes with color and movement, so its fitting that the artist would find recent inspiration in the undersea realm.
Following a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium, the artist has been cranking out these jellyfish inspired works. ( if you’re up Vancouver-way, there’s a special jellyfish exhibit but it’s only on exhibit until November 14th! ) The graceful, flowing creatures are a perfect vehicle for Tateishi’s bold, fluid style. The jellyfish are part of a new Pure series, in which the artist combines drawing and pure, transparent colored resin. Stunning, right??
All this month, I’ll be featuring M.A.’s work here on the blog and the Artsy Forager social media pages. Be sure to head over to Facebook where her work will be gracing the cover of our page and I’ve put together an album of my personal Tateishi faves.
Another note for you Vancouverites ( Vancouverians? ), M.A. Tateishi will be participating in the Eastside Culture Crawl with 400 fellow artists November 15-17th. Don’t miss out on the chance to see these beauties in person! Want to see more? Make sure you visit M.A.’s website and Facebook page.
A few months ago, you may have seen me make an announcement that Artsy Forager was now offering a variety of services to creative folk. With the exception of sporadic mentions on Facebook & Instagram, I haven’t really shared with you what I’ve been doing or how it’s been going. Pretty darn great, that’s how! The response has been very positive but thankfully not overwhelming. I’ve been able to gradually dip my toe in and I’ve been given the opportunity to help some wonderful artists, gallerists and consultants.
A few artists have approached me for help with their websites– now I’m not a web designer by any means, but I do approach an artist’s website from the direction of a blogger, a former gallerina, an art consultant and a potential collector.
Sometimes all an artist needs is an objective eye, a voice from outside themselves to give them a bit of guidance and direction. I’ve been super excited to work with several artists to be that source of advice and direction. It’s my favorite thing in the world! I’ve also been helping an artist proofread and edit her blog posts— the verbal thing isn’t everyone’s strong point, but this artist still has something to say and wants to make sure she is saying it to the best of her ability! That’s where I come in. A tweak here, a quick edit there and she feels much more confident in the content she is sharing with her followers and collectors!
One of my favorite and most challenging opportunities came along in the form of a social media makeover for a gallery. I’m still a firm believer in galleries and if a gallerist is hustling and working hard to sell the work of her artists, plan shows, AND have a life, that doesn’t leave much time for learning all the ins and outs of social media. But galleries need to use these tools to thrive!
Creating and managing your social media is a bit like throwing a fabulous party.. You get your house and yourself all dolled up and then serve your guests delicious food, cocktails and conversation. So for this gallery in particular, I went through their social media and implemented changes to create more engagement, as well as giving each platform a visual makeover, to sort of put on a digital party dress, if you will.
We got their social media all powdered up and ready to party! And the gallerist was thrilled with result, along with the rather lengthy list of social media “How To’s” I included for reference.
Doing all of these tasks for folks other than just myself has encouraged me with such a sense of purpose and pride! But then I’ve also been doing a bit of freelance art consulting/curation which is totally my jam, ya’ll. It’s what I did for five years and I could almost do it in my sleep. I’ve been working mainly for one art consultant in particular who specializes in art for the healthcare environment. So lots of peaceful, calming images, mostly photography and limited edition prints, for facilities in Florida, Tennessee and New Jersey. But even on a tight budget, we can still end up with beautiful, inspiring collections!
I’ve also spent a good deal of time lately putting together a proposal of art consulting services for a small rural hospital here in Western WA. Small hospital usually equals tight budget, but I’m hopeful the arts commission can raise the funds for at least a few key pieces. In any case, I had a blast putting together a “dream” proposal to give them something to shoot for!
Finally, I want to tell you about an exciting project I’m a part of that puts all this experience and knowledge to the best use ever– helping artists to succeed! I’m honored to be a part of The Thriving Artist Summit, a totally free online artists conference happening December 2-13th, giving you access to more than 20 industry experts whose knowledge will help you bring your art and the business of being an artist to the next level. The summit aims to teach, inspire, inform, guide and mentor artists on business, money, pricing, legal issues, inspiration, social media, wholesaling, and more.
All attending this online conference will cost you is a little bit of your time. And I think you’ll get a huge return on your investment! You can save your spot at The Thriving Artist Academy website. Plus, if you subscribe to the Artsy Forager email list over in the sidebar, you’ll receive an exclusive bonus from yours truly!
Just a little glimpse into what’s been keeping me busy lately! All this and writing the blog, of course! If you’d like to know more about the services I offer or working with me, you can get more info on the Forager For Hire page or shoot me an email at lesley(at)artsyforager.com.
With each place Mr. Forager & I travel to, we always come away with corresponding memories and associations. Maybe with the weather, maybe with the food of the region, maybe with the experiences we had. The work of Los Angeles artist Matthew Brandt takes the idea of associations of place and actually physically informs his work.
[ taste tests in color, laffy taffy 3, blue raspberry, banana and grape laffy taffy multi-layered silkscreen on paper, 30×40 ]
[ dexter lake, or 3, c-print soaked in dexter lake water, 40×30 ]
[ 120821716891, bubbilicious blueberry gum on paper, 40×30 ]
[ ketchup and mustard, ketchup and mustard multi-layered silkscreen on paper, 40×30 ]
[ marys lake, mt 2, c-print soaked in marys lake water, 105×72 ]
In his photographs of iconic American landscapes and places, the artist pays homage to the locale’s meaning sometimes by soaking his prints in the water of the scene in question, or by using unusual yet culturally meaningful printing mediums. For instance, in his Houses series, photographs of typical American homes are printed with flavored gum, perhaps a nod to the children who grew up there and the memories the buildings carry. For the Taste Test series, the artist printed quintessentially American landscape scenes with typical American condiments like mustard and ketchup or processed sweets like Laffy Taffy and Jello.
The resulting prints become not just images of idealized places, but those places have somehow become a part of the artwork itself. Just as each place becomes a part of those who have visited it.
If you’d like to see more of Matthew Brandt‘s work, please visit his website. Seriously, so much more amazing work to see there!
You have to walk before you can run. But you see things more clearly when you’re walking, you know? So it goes with black & white vs. color. In art school, we were all taught to begin with a black and white sketch. Master that, then move on to color. But what if just those two hues– the absence of color and the sum of all colors was enough? For Italian artist Daniele De Batte, it wasn’t color that fascinated, but composition and juxtaposition of space.
In breaking these down to the most essential elements of line, shape, and space, the artist is able to focus our attention on the strength of composition and the way each element contributes to the overall scheme. The absence of color and even shading ( ok, there is some shading in other work ), keep our eyes from being distracted. The graphic forms advance and recede, changing our perception of each composition with every new glance.
Once upon a time, there was a rule that we all followed diligently– that art had to be centered on something. Whether it was centered above a piece of furniture or centered based on the wall on which it was hung, centering was very important. But I’m noticing a trend towards more casual, more interesting placement. Deliberately hanging artwork off-center. Justified waaaay to the right or way to the left.
Bold statement pieces often need another dramatic something to balance them out or your room may feel a bit lopsided. That scene stealing coffee table or pendant needs something to create a bit of harmonious tension, otherwise, he’s like that dinner party guest that just won’t shut up. We liked hearing his stories at first, but someone else, please say something!
Our eyes like triangles. Triangular compositions help our eyes travel and take in all that we see instead of zeroing in on one element. By hanging artwork off center, you can deliberately create your own triangular composition. So even if that painting is hanging in a place that at first seems off, once your eye takes in all the other elements in the room, it seems just right.
3 | Work your other angles
Angles aren’t just found in the architecture and furnishings surrounding a piece of art, but also in the artwork itself. Don’t forget about the compositional lines and angles in your artwork when thinking about how to hang it. The work should carry on a pleasing conversation with the furnishings around it. Like a first date that’s going really really well.
Hanging artwork off center doesn’t necessarily have to mean that the artwork isn’t centered on anything. Just maybe think about centering on an unexpected or secondary element in the room, like a chandelier or rug instead of the desk or dining table.
Rules tend to be created to make things easy and orderly. But art is neither of those things, so why should we live with it that way? Don’t be afraid to be a bit off center. Your art is crying out for it!
There is something so magical about the way the skies color with the beginning and end of each day. It’s almost like a painted message– there is new joy and hope in a new day or take heart, this day is done, a new one comes in the morning. In his work, Scottish painter Scott Naismith explores the brilliance of those colored skies and the effects of light and color in the atmosphere.
Through the refraction and reflection of light, we are treated to skies filled with glorious color. What happens within the atmosphere and how our eyes perceive it is completely explicable, scientifically, but what about our emotional reaction to such a sight? How do we explain the warm glow within that light and those colors bring? Maybe we don’t have to. Let’s just enjoy the gift.
I’m so with you, Lucy Maud Montgomery! Mr. F and I were talking this weekend about how October is just the perfect month. The crisp air is such a welcome change following summer, the turning leaves are in full glory ( it’s been exceptionally colorful here in Western WA! ), and for us in the Northwest, the winter rains haven’t yet set fully in.
We took advantage of a clear, crisp day and made a beautiful drive to hike at Mt. St. Helens. We both hate getting up before the sun, but I love our day trip ritual. A stop at Urraco Coffee for a latte & croissant for the road, trees barely visible through the morning fog and NPR on the radio as we chat about the week past and future plans.
October feels to me like that last wonderful hour of a party.. you know, the one where the people who really love hanging out together are just kind of sitting around, chatting and basking in the afterglow of a fun time together. No one wants to say goodnight. Because once you break the spell, the magic is gone.
[ norway pass hike, mt. adams in distance ]
But then, there is something equally lovely about that post-party feeling. Taking off your shoes, climbing into a warm bed and snuggling. Sometimes we need that recovery day as much as we needed the party. Following its eruption in 1980 ( I was in the 3rd grade.. 3rd grade was big for me, St. Helens erupted, I won the spelling bee and my little brother was born ), acres around the mountain were devastated. Within just days, new seeds of life had already been planted.
[ old destruction, new growth ]
We need that, too. To slow down, sometimes to destroy in order to rebuild. And although things may not look exactly the same ever again, we emerge, perhaps even more solid and strong.
[ mr. forager, mt. st. helens & spirit lake ]
As we move into this season of hibernation, I’m sad to see October go. But I’m looking forward to cozying up to November, to entering a quieter season, a season for thinking and planning, for resting and renewing.
[ homemade seafood chowder ]
[ fall decorations at urraco ]
How does this change of season make you feel, Artsies? Do you get as excited as we do? Or were you bummed to see summer go?