So I ended that last post wondering how the Universe could top that – here’s the answer. Long time readers may remember way back in 2012 I spent a magical weekend on Martha’s Vineyard at the TurkeyLand Cove Foundation. (If you haven’t been reading that long, you can find out more by clicking here and follow the journey on the next couple of posts.) That residency marked the end of a magical year where my internal landscape shifted and I finally moved into my own skin as an artist. It was a tremendous gift that has continued to grow over time. The work I started there propelled me into the world of book arts where I have found amazing new colleagues, continued to grow, learning new skills and I think I have flourished there!
This past weekend, Kitty gathered together the 100 women who have been blessed with a residency at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence RI, for a FREE weekend of bonding and sharing. Yes – you read that correctly – FREE. We arrived from all over the country on Friday and after checking in to a ridiculously luxurious suite, we gathered for cocktails and dinner. After dinner we were treated to a Q&A between Christina Bevilacqua, Conversationalist-in-residence at Trinity Repertory Company and Kyna Leski, Professor of Architecture at RISD about Kyna’s book The Storm of Creativity. It was the perfect start as it gave us a common vocabulary for our experiences which came up again and again as the weekend continued. I purchased a copy of the book, and then had to resist the temptation to stay up all night and read it. It is a rich book worthy of being savored and I am looking forward to finishing it.
Saturday gave us an opportunity to share the work we began during our residencies. Like many of the other visual artists and writers I was able to set up a table of my embroidered books and share them with everyone. It was some awe inspiring company to be in! In addition to the ‘show and tell’ tables, there were table talks, where this amazing group of women shared their projects, Women like Christina Campbell who created project peace, a knitting pattern/project that focused on bringing peaceful intention into the world, or Paula Francis who is increasing the gross national happiness quotient of the USA by walking across the country and talking to people, or the artist Susan Porter who makes the most beautiful colorful journals, or Melissa Burch who talked us through our heroines journal, well you get the idea I think – it was incredible! The day sped by – ending for me with a thought provoking discussion of conducting research with students – that description does not give you any idea of how wonderful it was – seriously – wonderful. Then there was just enough time to get cleaned up and dressed for dinner in the ballroom. And it was a day that kept on giving with mind blowing after dinner entertainment by singers and performers who had also been residents at the tree house.
Sunday there was just time for a bitter sweet breakfast,a few tears and a group picture before it was time to make the 9 hour drive back home. It will be months before I can process all of the information buzzing about in my brain, but I have to say – if you put that room full of women in charge of the country for a year the infrastructure would be fixed, there’d be healthcare and food for all, and things would get DONE. Until that golden day I look forward to seeing all the great things they do, and I am so proud to be one of their number. Thank you Kitty and the board and staff of the TurkeyLand Cove Foundation for everything, for changing my world and for loving us so hard! If you are a motivated woman reading this blog – apply, there’s still time to make this year’s deadline – I promise it will change your life!!
So much is going on right now! Last weekend I got to meet some great new artists when I was invited to exhibit with them. It was really invigorating to chat with some new faces at the opening last Friday. The show is up through April 15th at Sensory Winery if local folks want to grab a great glass of wine and check it out.
I also have a solo exhibition opening this Saturday. I just finished hanging the work today. This was a really unique opportunity, a new gallery, LMNOP Gallery (in Sherman NY) offered me complete creative control to hang whatever I liked however I wanted. It’s a mixture of old and new work. It gave me a chance to look back over a decade of my work and reflect a bit on my journey from being a very serious art student to where I am today, wherever that is?!
As if this wasn’t marvellous enough, the universe threw me a complete curve ball. I was astonished to find out a local art organization is giving me their distinguished artist award. I am so honored! Wow!
I don’t know how the universe plans to top this, but I say bring it on, I am ready for my close up! Thank you to all my supporters who have stuck with me on my journey, this would be so much harder without you in my corner.
I am a huge fan of Lisa Sonora and her work. Picking up her book The Creative Entrepreneur changed my life. It was the first time I understood that I could turn what I loved doing into a sustainable way of life. What a journey I have been on since then!
And speaking of journeys, each year Lisa also generously creates a set of journaling prompts which she shares for free! This is my 4th year working with them, and every year my experience gets richer! This year I am a bit behind as our youngest has been receiving treatment at the Cleveland Clinic and life has been a bit chaotic, but I have been working on the prompts in the hotel. Here’s a glimpse at my journey so far this year, once again I decided to use my page meditation method to work through my ideas.
I have a lot coming up in the next month, so I am looking forward to a week at home getting caught up with housework and grading for my students, and a little studio time too I hope!
I’m planning to scan some of these and put them in my redbubble portfolio if anyone is interested in prints. And if you want to join the thousands who are journaling with Lisa Sonora you can find more about the project here.
Over the holiday break from school I sat down with the checklist from Alyson Stanfield‘s Art Biz Blog and tried to analyze my studio practice from a business perspective. I was pretty happy with the results, except in the area of communication. I really have a hard time connecting with people – even people who obviously care about and support my work. I collect emails, and I think about creating a newsletter or something to connect with others, and every year I don’t follow through. I reach out to curators, which is terrifying for me, and then after the first contact or two, I loose momentum. I realized this is really holding me back, and I know over the years I have let opportunities slide through my hands. This year I am resolving again to try and work on this a little more.
Then I saw that SARK was giving away a week long seminar on succulent business practice. FREE – SARK. Yeah I was blown away. So I signed up for that too. On the second to last day there was a session on money. Like many artists not only do I struggle with connecting with people, I also have a love/hate relationship with money. I have to say that the week long seminar has really shifted my attention. I had a really powerful experience during that money seminar. I hope that I can keep building on the energy of that experience. And in what I am sure is really a coincidence but sure feels like divine manifestation, an unexpected series of checks showed up in my life this week. (Unexpected only in that I rarely check in with galleries who carry my work, and I had sold some work at several of them over the holidays – yeah those people skills again). I decided to invest a little of that money in one on one business counseling through the seminar. And yes, I am terrified!
As usual over the holidays I also got way less work accomplished than I thought I would. I really need to manage my time better this year as I have two solo shows and several group shows with new galleries or artist groups coming up. (Again, maintaining those relationships, those people skills need to be a focus) I also want to spend part of my summer back home in the UK, so I have taken on a lot of workshops and an extra course at the college where I teach to help offset all the costs of traveling and the lack of summer income. Just writing that is making me . queasy.
Okay. I really have to get back to work now! If you have any tips on connecting with the people who support your practice, send them my way. And as part of this “people” revolution this year – I pledge to actually post a little more often. Or at least to try.
Wow! Its been a week. Not just the election – although I am still reeling from that, but also a trip to the Cleveland Clinic which meant a day with over 12 hours of driving. I am exhausted!
Like many other artists, stress drives me into the studio, where I found I just couldn’t settle to any of the projects I had started. On a bulletin board over my desk were 5 or 6 little partially completed collages, things that were stuck and abandoned there. I have been wanting to paint again for a few weeks, the change in the light as autumn and winter draw in always makes me want to pick up a brush to capture it, and so I decided I would try painting over a few of those collaged panels.
What to paint? I hadn’t picked up a brush to paint anything except a wall in more than 10 years – I decided to just be whimsical and paint some little tiny faerie faces on a couple and see what happened. It was fun, just the escape I needed. The little faces looked a bit odd and isolated on top of the layers of collage, so I added another layer of collage over the top. I enjoyed having a brush in my hand. I see more tiny paintings in my future.
Here are the results – they will be my contribution to an exhibit coming up in December at the Sensory Art Gallery & Winery.
And now back to real life – a mountain of essays to grade and an enormous gift giving exhibit to install at the 3rd on 3rd Gallery.
I have work in a new exhibit which opens this Friday (Working with paper, Center Gallery in Olean, NY, 6-8pm). Regular readers have been sharing my struggle to get this work completed, so I thought I would share this moment of resolution with you too.
This is that monigami scroll which almost ended up in the bin
And here are all those little tea bags I saved obsessively and then printed on
It would be wonderful to see some of you at the opening, but I will also try to post some better pictures once the show is finished and properly lighted.
Thanks to everyone who encouraged me through the dark days and helped me reach this moment.
I have been slowly working my way through another 30 day journal project from the wonderful Lisa Sonora. I have received some wonderful feedback from other artists online, and so in the spirit of paying it forward I am offering a free download of one of the images from this series. I will be loading other similar images into my Fine Art America account as I scan and edit them, in case you loved one of the others and would like to purchase one.
To get a FREE printable jpeg or pdf of this image fill out this form and I will email you the file. Feel free to share!