Tuesday, April 21, 2009



Lessons in Flow
Hand-Marbelized papers, each approx. 19" x 12.5"
$35 each including shipping


Lately I've been waking up with bigger dreams.

For instance, I keep thinking of the studio space I want to grow into, the imaginary addition on my home where I can really spread out, where I can set up a sewing machine and a huge collage and a great big canvas all at the same time, without having to dismantle one project in order to accommodate another. A space with a very long table and a flock of comfortable stools, with built-in storage for art works and supplies, a deep sink. A space where I can teach classes and lead workshops and hold open studios to my heart's content.

I find myself thinking about how much I could accomplish with hired help. I plot out an imaginary schedule for an imaginary assistant: two mornings a week, Monday and Wednesday? Tuesday and Thursday? I think how great it would be to have that built-in structure to my work life. To know that I can deposit certain tasks in someone else's inbox, that they will get done. To be able to write a decent paycheck (what a nice thing to be able to do for another person!) and turn my focus on the stockpile of projects cluttering my brain.

And then, a moment later, all I want is a two-hour walk in the woods, or to wander out to the garden and plant more lettuce, mulch the garlic. I look around and once again, I'm satisfied with my spare-bedroom studio, my quiet, obsessive work habits, my U-shaped desk arrangement where all I have to do is swivel my chair and I'm designing a web site, writing a book proposal, answering emails, answering the phone; swivel again, and I'm making a collage, a painting, a journal entry.

Who knows where all of this might lead. Perhaps I will begin to see a path toward these new visions. After all, I have just the person in mind for the assistantship. And my next-door neighbor does have a lovely barn/apartment, once a potter's studio, now unrented, a glorified shed for her kayak and bicycle.

But it's not time yet for any big moves. Though that time may come sooner than I imagine, I've got enough on my plate for now.

In the meantime, I will continue to allow myself to dream, while going with the flow, but at the same time, experimenting with creating my own flow. And appreciating the fact that there are limits to how many projects I can entertain in a given day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Worry is Creative

.dotstring, collage on bristol paper, 9 x 12", on view at WindhamARTS until April 23rd

I'm going to be on the radio this coming Tuesday, April 14th, on the award-winning Wayne Norman Show on WILI 1400AM, beginning at 7:15 in the morning, until 8:30 or 9. (If you miss it, or if you're not in the area, the audio will be posted later in the day here.)

I am nervous. I didn't pursue this at all. It's overwhelming to note that the splash made by my art show opening last Friday was strong enough to bring about such an opportunity.

Opportunity, according to Miriam Webster, is:
1: a favorable juncture of circumstances
2: a good chance for advancement or progress

The surface opportunity is clear: perhaps an appearance on a popular local radio show will bring a few more fans of my art, maybe a potential design client or two.

But the core opportunity lies smack-dab inside my worry. In the fact that I will be called upon to talk about myself and my work.

This is what scares me. Right now, my thoughts are like furniture fresh off the moving truck, crowded into the center of a room. I know all the pieces, but I haven't arranged them in any coherent order.

I suppose I could spin an elaborate image of myself bumbling and stumbling, trying too hard, flailing, choking. Or I could just feel the fear (yikes!) and apply my creative energy to preparation. Which is exactly what I plan to do.

What a gift a deadline is! Come Tuesday morning, I'll be able to articulate who I am, what I do, what moves me to do the work that I do. I'll know myself better. And knowing myself better is the key to BEING myself better.

So yes, I'm nervous. But I'm also looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Closer Look

I returned to the gallery on Tuesday to view my own show for the first time, on my own, without rush or worry about the opening. It's over. It was a success. Phew.

What a difference it makes to see one's own work carefully framed and on display, to take in the sheer quantity of work, to feel affirmed by all the red dots on the labels indicating which pieces have sold, to recall how crowded these rooms were just days before, all the compliments I tried so awkwardly to absorb with grace.

It occured to me part way though the evening that when someone gushes, "Thank you" need not be the extent of my response - I can follow with questions, engaging the viewer about what moves them, where the work takes them. What a gift it was to hear their answers.

Suddenly I get it that I'm an artist, that I have been all along. That these works, and my private visual vocabulary, does indeed speak to others, whether art-educated or — even better — not.

Even the labels I made to accompany each piece, a conceptual design project in its own right, were well received. In fact, one friend and colleague suggested I look into showing the labels all on their own. An exciting idea which I plan to pursue.

Today I put in an application for another show in another gallery, another town. I get it now, finally, that this is just the beginning, that these applications will become part of my routine, that I will continue to develop as an artist and a professional, and that the road ahead promises exciting terrain.

As always, dear readers, I will bring you along for the ride.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Opening

My art show at WindhamARTS opened Friday, and all went well. I received too many compliments to count, the best of which was passed on to me by my sister-in-law, from my five-year-old niece:

Aunt Amy is such a good drawer, it looks like nobody drawed it.

But a half-hour earlier, it was another story entirely.

Between locking my keys (and other necessities) in the car a half-block away and last-minute copier jamming issues with the brochure/price list, I found myself sprinting up and down the stairs to the gallery office to troubleshoot print settings, in and out to the car (in the rain, no less) to settle up with AAA and gather needed items, and making a mad scramble to get all the food and drink set out in time, while delegating tasks to the helpful beloveds standing by as I flew past. All of this during the countdown minutes I had hoped to spend taking deep breaths, rechecking my appearance, and trying not to get too anxious that no one would come. Oh, woe, my biggest fear, made worse by the rainy evening: maybe no one would come.

But there was no time for any of that. When guests started streaming in, my biggest fear was assuaged, and I clicked, to my surprise, into calm, social, attentive, at-the-ready.

And boy did they start streaming in. There was a crowd! There was a band! People had fun! They bought art!


More people!

The Electric Trains rock the house.

I couldn't have been happier to see so many new and familiar faces, and to receive such a glowing response to the work.

Thanks to everyone who took photographs of the event. (If you're on Facebook, you can view the entire album here.) I plan to return to the gallery today to take more pictures of the exhibit, unobstructed.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3, 2, 1...

I'm down to the details now, sending out last-minute invites and reminder emails, making labels and signage.

Spent yesterday at the gallery figuring out how everything will be arranged, with incredible help from a good friend. Note to self: help is good. I could have done it alone, but it would have been infinitely more stressful. Plus, us work-alone types need all the excuses we can find to hang out with our friends!

Got in a good long swim last night, finished a design job this morning, and now the decks are cleared to focus exclusively on the show for the rest of the week. I'll go back to the gallery tomorrow with all the signage and detail bits.

Enthusiastic RSVPs keep coming in - just goes to show the cynical me that art matters to people. Looks like there's going to be a crowd!