About dryadart

An artist struggling to balance art, teaching and family in suburban America.

basking

 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. 

Journaling with Lisa Sonora

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.

Where did January go?

dragon-tail-web

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.

some little escapist faeries

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.

14991314_10154573065865242_1991812392248274638_o15042113_10154581669475242_678208016753754638_o

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.

working with paper

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

img_20161102_124157878

And here are all those little tea bags I saved obsessively and then printed on

img_20161102_124130856

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.

giveaway

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.

powerful-web

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!

 

 

one step too far?

It’s okay, relax, this is not a political post! Instead it is about the scroll from my last post, the one I didn’t think was quite finished. 

Friday night I decided to revisit it. I had a couple of pieces of dyed and printed paper that I didn’t use, so I thought I would try giving one of them the monigami treatment. One of the things I felt wasn’t working was how stiff and heavy the paper was. So I gently kneaded the test strip with some oil, and it softened up beautifully. Additionally the organic dye (onion skins) moved around a bit creating a mellow background tone, but the monoprint pretty much remained the same. I loved how this piece looked, so I decided to go for it and do the whole scroll.

I’m going to blame my next decision on the fact it was late on a Friday after a really busy week, but truth is I could have made this awful choice any time. I decided not to take the scroll apart. This was crazy thinking. Although the paper was quite stiff and heavy, the areas that had been folded in the dye bath were seriously compromised, add to that the size of the scroll, and disaster number one happened. As I worked the paper it tore badly in many places.

Those of you who know my work will no doubt be saying, but you love torn things you can mend, and this is true, BUT, the oiling also seemed to have obliterated the really delicate monoprinted images. It was ruined. 

Saturday I hung it out on my washing line to see if evaporating some of the oil would help. My poor neighbors never know what they might see hanging out there.

When I brought it back in later that day it still looked awful.

Yesterday I decided I would try one last thing to try and save it. I took the scroll apart, and gently ironed each piece of paper between clean sheets of absorbent paper with a very hot iron to try and pull the excess oil out. It was tedious and now my studio smells like a chip shop, but I think it might have saved the day.

As I removed the oil the printing began to re-emerge! I was afraid the all the extra texture added in the monigami process would still hide the more delicate printed images, but I think enough is still there.

So now all I have to do is repair all the tears caused by being too lazy to take the scroll apart at the beginning and then sew it all back together again. 

Lesson learned. Long thread, lazy girl.