Posted on

Home Studio vs. Art Center Studio

For years I have been longing to get an “official” art studio within an art center; however, could never justify it with my young kids schedules.

Well, this spring I finally got my chance to see what I have been missing. During my home construction journey, I sublet space at the Artist & Makers Studios in Rockville, MD for the past 3 months.  Already knowing the rest of my studio mates and a large number of resident artists, it became my refuge in the chaos of my construction.

Having now experienced a home studio AND an art center studio, I better understand the pros and cons of both.  Depending on each artists goals, personalities, and limitations one option may be better than another.  Below are the pros and cons, so you can decide which best fits your lifestyle-

ART CENTER STUDIO

Pros:

  • Sense of community and camaraderie
  • More exposure of your art
  • More opportunities arise, as you are more visible (i.e. exhibition opportunities, workshops)
  • Impromptu critiques with fellow artists
  • Exchange of knowledge with other artists (i.e. techniques, classes, exhibitions)
  • Opportunities to see new materials or borrow material

Cons:

  • Monetary cost
  • Harder to concentrate with people constantly in and out
  • If share your space, it might not be as you left it
  • Commute to studio space

 

HOME STUDIO

Pros:

  • Always as you left it
  • Have access to the studio at any hour
  • No commute – can pop in and out
  • Monetary savings
  • Depending on your house, a quiet place to work without interruptions
  • All art supplies under one roof

Cons:

  • Isolating
  • Have to be disciplined, house can be distracting with chores and laundry
  • Make more of an effort to be apart of the greater artist community and seek opportunities
Posted on

Inventing a Still Life with Susan Abbott

Continuing education is an important part of any job and art is no different!  I try to take at least one workshop a year to make sure I am constantly learning, especially from artists that I greatly admire.  This year I had the privilege of taking “Inventing the Still Life” with Susan Abbott, a fabulous Vermont based artist known for her bold, colorful landscapes and inventive still live paintings.  For those who want to learn more about Susan’s work, click here.

Susan came down from snowy Vermont to a snowy March in Washington, DC to teach the workshop at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.  Susan’s approach to the workshop was filled with fabulous art history lessons and useful exercises.  These teachings helped everyone better understand the placing of objects in the still life space, in order to create a continuous webbing throughout the picture plane.  Focusing on opposing forces: lights and darks, negative spaces, and complimentary colors are intricate to Susan’s work and the exercises she had us do, really drilled that into us.  The exercises included limited palette compositions on a flat, black picture plane and taking a photo of a simple geometric objects and using 9 colors from an art postcard to insert into image, along with a pattern.  I definitely gained a new appreciation for the famous Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, as Susan used his works as some prime examples of the concepts she wanted us to learn.

The last two days of the 4 day workshop were focused around creating our own unique still life.  I could not resist once again painting my favorite sweets from my childhood.  This time instead of French Macarons I decided on Salt Water Taffy!  The bright colorful candy with the the quirky wrapping was so fun to paint (and yes to eat – I just had to ingest my subject).

Below is my finished painting from the workshop, “Oceans of Salt Water Taffy,” 12×16.

 

Posted on

Deep Thoughts on Construction, Spring Cleaning, and Studio Closing

This is kind of how I feel currently….”Chocolate Blunder” 24×20. Part of the “Insane Studio Sale”

We moved into our house in July 2007 with lots of vision.  For the past 10+ years we have been dreaming of what our 1966 house could be…a better flowing layout, a dream kitchen, a main-floor bathroom without 365 degree floor-to-ceiling degree mirrors (I am not joking).  It always seemed so far away, but time crept up on us and it now the moment to embark on this major house face-lift.

While so exciting and the end product is going to be spectacular, I never guessed cleaning out the house and closing up my studio were going to be so physically and emotionally difficult.  The amount of stuff from serving plates to kid toys we have amassed over the years are substantial.  Having to say goodbye to the baby toys and kids art supplies made me cry, I am not going to lie.  While my kids are still young, they are not babies anymore and we have no need for doll strollers and duplo legos.  Then, dealing with the look on their faces when they figured out what of their toys were missing after one of my many massive cleaning binges was heartbreaking.  We will all get over it.

The most scary part has been cleaning out my painting studio. I am not 100% there yet, as I have 5 more days to finish this task, as time is ticking and I am procrastinating.  Moving out my paintings and coming to the realization that for the next several months (maybe up to 6) my sanity space will be unavailable.  It is the place that is solely mine, where I go to work on my art and ruminate with my thoughts.  My art routine and practice will be thrown into upheaval. I admit, I am nervous I won’t come back to it.  Or when I do I come back I will not be the same artist (for good or bad).

With all my nervous energy I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons.  I have been threatening for years to bone up on my drawing skills, try my hand at plein air painting, and enter more art competitions.  Now is the time.  With everything in upheaval, I might was well embrace the chaos and push my own artistic skills.  I am “leaning in” and have signed up for several different art classes, including drawing and plein air painting.  Additionally, I am taking a 4 day intensive art workshop with the amazing VT based painter, Susan Abbott that begins in a week.

I don’t deal with chaos well and with no first floor, no kitchen, no studio, there will be chaos.  My current mantra is “at the end of the project it will be worth it.”  The house will be everything we dreamed it could be and I will be a stronger (but maybe different) artist.

In the meantime, please take advantage of my chaos and packing and enjoy my “Insane Studio Sale” with paintings at almost 75% off…all framed, ready to hang, and free shipping.  I have added a couple additional paintings and extended this sale until Wednesday, March 14th at which point the studio will close and everything will be moved out.

Posted on

2018: New Year – New Intentions

 Hello 2018!
Have you been making resolutions and setting your own goals for 2018?

While I am not very good at resolutions, I do take my goals and intentions for the year seriously.  I have been ruminating these past couple weeks on the best ways I can serve myself and my art in 2018.

I expect the first half of 2018 to be quite chaotic with a long-anticipated major home renovation which will leave me without a studio for many months.  With that in mind, I am trying to be kind to myself and not give myself unrealistic expectations, only to be disappointed later.

So, I dub 2018, the year of EXPLORATION.

  • I will explore a new series of work.
  • I will explore new classes and workshops.
  • I will explore a new genre of painting, as I am about to begin taking an ABSTRACT class.
  • I will explore plein air painting, especially when my studio is unavailable.

I really look forward to seeing how the year and my work materializes!

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, art-filled year with lots of mindful and meaningful intentions.

“Oyster Love,” 2017. Oil on canvas, 16×16. Click on image for more details.
Posted on

Inspired by The Masters: Cezanne

Last weekend was the opening of “Inspired by the Masters: Cezanne” with works inspired by Cezanne’s painting “Woman with a Coffee Pot.”  It was such a wonderful opening with just fabulous and inspired pieces.  The show is at The Artist Angle Gallery in Frederick, Maryland and runs through February 17, 2018.  A worthwhile, exciting exhibition!
Check out a glimpse of the opening and some of the works:

Posted on

Woman with a Coffee Pot

“Woman with a Coffee Pot” is one of Paul Cezanne’s lesser known works.  However, at the Artist Angle Gallery in Frederick, MD from January 6 to February 17th it will become the most recognized!

14 artists, of different mediums and styles, were are invited to create their own interpretations of Cezanne’s masterpiece.

You will not be surprised to learn that my own interpretation is not of the woman or the coffee pot, but what lies beyond the coffee pot.  The woman wasn’t having JUST coffee was she?  Cezanne’s original painting is circa 1895 in Aix en Provence; therefore, I am certain the coffee was accompanied by croissants and jam!

My favorite part of my painting, “Dejeuner,”  is not the patisseries but the vessels that contain them.  These vessels are very sentimental to me, as I have been holding on to my grandmother’s ceramic basket and crystal jam jar in hopes I might one day find a use for them.  While perhaps not the traditional use, being able to include them in my painting makes me so happy.  I picture my grandmother, who died over 3 years ago, smiling and chuckling to herself upon seeing her serving pieces being a part of my artwork.

The original Cezanne painting, “Woman with a Coffee Pot” is currently hanging in my all-time favorite museum, The Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France.  While you may not be able to see the original easily, consider a trip to Frederick, MD instead.  “Inspired by the Masters: Cezanne” exhibition runs until February 17th at the Artist Angle Gallery, 124 South Carroll Street, Frederick, MD.  During that 6 weeks, patrons will have the opportunity to place silent bids for their favorite artworks from the exhibition.

“Dejeuner,” 2017. Oil on canvas, 16×20.

 

Posted on

To My Daughter On Her 9th Birthday

This week  is my first born’s 9th birthday.  Gasp!  I am not sure how that happened.  The saying is so true: the days are long but the years are short.

To my sweet, sensitive child,

You have given me so many amazing gifts as a mother, but one that you gave me and will probably never comprehend is the drive to be a full time artist.  I am not sure I would have ever made the leap without you.

While you currently show now interest in the visual arts (which SO okay with me), to hear the tell you friends with pride in your voice that your mom is an artist makes all the late nights painting, stressful deadlines, sore backs,  and bruised egos 100% worth it.

My wish for you, along with a lifetime of health and happiness, is to fine your true passion, as you helped me find mine, and for you to give it back to the world.  If you want to be the next J.K. Rowling, I will be behind you every step of the way!

XOXO,  Mom

 

 

Posted on

Holiday Gratitude

The days are growing shorter, its getting dark and cold here in the Mid-Atlantic.  I just want to pull on my sweatpants and begin my winter hibernation.  But alas, that is not possible, well at least not until after the Holidays.

It is that nutty time of year when I become focused on gift giving, gift wrapping, making homemade cookies, attending holiday parties, and organizing my daughters birthday.  Every day this month I have been screaming to myself – SLOW down as deadlines loom and obligations are to be met.

I am asked a great deal how I manage to paint and get everything else that needs to be done and still be some semblance of sane (which is debatable).  My response – painting is my calm, my zen.  When I paint I am using another part of my brain that is not exercised in daily activities.  I am transported to another realm in which all the exists are me, my paints, and my subject matter and for that I am internally grateful for the vacation.

Life is a whirlwind and I am still learning.  Right now, I am learning to count my multitude of blessings.  My family, my children, my art, my success, my friends, my health.  With two close friends currently battling cancer, one of which recently had a double mastectomy, it makes you realize how precious and fragile life is.

So, with 2017 coming to a close I am trying to emanate gratitude.

With my gratitude, I want to thank you, my dear readers, for following/liking/commenting my posts, paintings, events, pictures, etc.  Your support and love mean more than you know!  It definitely keeps me going on some darker days.  You are amazing and appreciated.  Thank you!

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and sweet holiday season along with a fabulous 2018 filled with lots of joy, happiness, and art!

 

“Begonia Escargot,” 2015. Oil on canvas, 18×24.

 

Posted on

Why Do I Paint Food?

“Shabbat Sweetness,” 2017. Oil on canvas, 14×18.

Wow, not only do I get asked the question, “Why do I paint food?” I find myself asking that question a great deal too.

My response has changed and evolved over the years.  First it was because it was relatable, colorful, and texturally interesting.  Then I realized it was also due to a wonderful childhood memories of my mother bring home treats from various local bakeries.

My most recent revelation from examining my work and my subject matter is that I don’t just paint food or sweets.  I paint delicacies.  Dictionary.com defines delicacies as “something delightful or pleasing, especially a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness.”  The items I paint are not common place, you typically can not pick up from your local grocery store.  French macarons, gourmet cookies, wedding cakes, baklava all require finesse and trips to special bakeries to acquire.  

So, why do I paint delicacies?  They are rare and special and make you feel special consuming them.  A true treat.  Everyone deserves a treat – I just like mine to be immortalized on canvas to be treasured much longer than it takes to devour a cookie.

My latest painting “Shabbat Sweetness” (above) is of challah and a kiddish cup.  While not a true sweet – the nature of the challah embodies the meaning of the start of Shabbat, the day of rest – a time to rejoice in life and all the delicacies it has to offer.

Posted on

Holding Myself Accountable

This Summer I published a post where I made 6 Summer resolutions to myself and promised you, my dear readers, to  stay accountable and report back on my progress.  So alas, it is into October and summer has long past.  It is time to review my progress in this week’s post.  Without further adieu, let’s see how I did:

1.  Read the 6 art books that I so desperately wanted to read and have been sitting on my desk for 2 months or more (including the super boring guide to new camera)

Done!  With time to spare for a couple fiction books that also had been sitting on my kindle for an embarrassingly long time.  The highlight?  “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield – it really gets into how creatives think and how it takes grit to keep going and succeed.  A must read for creatives of any kind.

2.  Paint, small, alla prima, loose paintings from still life set ups, not photos

So, I had grandiose plans for this one of lots of small alla prima paintings.  I did one.  It was hard and found myself suddenly scheduled with deadlines.  I definitely want to come back to this, especially since I was overly ambitious and already prepped the boards to paint on.  Fall goal?

3. Visit the National Gallery of Art….by myself!  Not distractions, no conversations, just me & art

Check!  YAY! Despite painting deadlines and crazy camp schedules I spent a day at the National Gallery of Art at the end of July – ALL BY MYSELF!  Heaven.  Below is one of my favorite paintings there – its John Singer Sargent’s “Repose” and I could stare at the paint on her dress for hours.

4.  Do yoga 2x a week and exercise more.  Not a resolution, a goal.

This might be the one I am most proud of.  After dabbling in yoga for years and then quitting when it became difficult to get to classes or hurting myself, I was counseled by more than one doctor to take up yoga religiously.  Advice taken.  I have been going to vinyasa yoga 2 times a week for the past 4 months and not only do I feel fantastic but I actually have awesome arm muscles!!!

 5.  Paint my entry for the super fun Kensington Labor Day Art Show

Done and Done!  This was such an amazing show this year and winning “Best in Show” Bertha Club award was just icing on the cake.

         6.  Clean out the old baby toys from my house

Bitter sweet chore – but done.  The best part is I was able to send all my kids baby stuff to my brother in Minnesota who is expecting his first child at the end of this month!  Thrilled that all strollers, furniture, and beloved toys get another lease on life.  I am embracing the next phase.

Now on to Fall goals….
Honestly,  I have only one at the moment – managing my newfound time (aka both kids in full day school) effectively.  I am sure there will be more to come.  Well, and getting back to the alla prima goal…