Womens Perspective At Studio 23

Thursday night was the opening for the show I was included in at Studio 23, their yearly “Women’s Perspective” exhibition. It was a great night, and I even successfully mingled and talked about my work with a gaggle of guests without my face turning green or passing out – yay! My boyfriend, who accompanied me, was literally poking me in the back with his finger saying “Get up there, go stand over by your work and talk to people!” After much hissing back and forth, I cautiously made my way over and ended up having a fantastic time once I got into the swing of talking to a ton of random people I had never met all at once. It’s funny because being an instructor, I talk all day, but it’s all very planned and orderly and I know what I need to say. It’s the spontaneous small talk I fear, but I’ve found that despite the gigantic nerves, once I get going it’s easy to talk about my work with others and answer questions because honestly what on this earth can I possibly know more about, or love sharing with people more? I think most creatives be they artists, writers, musicians, tow a line between crippling self consciousness and an almost nauseating level of confidence ;).

Ready to go! I'd been dying for an outfit to wear that Betsey Johnson purse with - half off baby! (Which is literally the only way I'd ever bother with a designer purse) The retro barbie look got me.

Ready to go! I’d been dying for an outfit to wear that Betsey Johnson purse with – half off baby! (Which is the only way I’d ever bother with a designer purse – The retro barbie look got me.)

It's the little things ... I was over the moon excited when I saw the cool graphic detail they added to my display wall - just amazing, thanks Studio 23!

It’s the little things … I was over the moon excited when I saw the cool graphic detail they added to my display wall – just amazing, thanks Studio 23!

Standing like a proud parent next to my creations :).

Standing like a proud parent next to my creations :).

They included information about myself and my two pieces next to the work, which I’ve included below for some additional insight:

Much of my work involves making the internal external. I enjoy visually exposing the unique mental environment of the subject in each work, and I believe art should let us see something we cannot in real life. Rather than using exaggerated facial expressions or gestures, I tend to let the external surroundings of a subject speak to the content of their mind and soul. This tendency most likely stems from my interior design background, and the idea that the external environment should reflect the internal person who inhabits it. I am currently an instructor in a variety of art programs, including a program at Creative 360 in Midland for adults with disabilities. I see every day how creation sparks joy in the creator and those around them. Everyone is an artist. Each person on earth has the ability to do something creative that can touch another person, and it is never too late to begin.

The Peacock

The Peacock

On My Mind

On My Mind

“The Peacock” is part of a series of conceptual portraits I did in which pattern and color are used to convey the subject’s personality, thoughts and emotions. This piece has a vintage feel with the hat and veil and peacock print dress. The dark stylized trees and floral pattern covering her hair merge seamlessly into the peacocks on her hat, and allow her mysterious and stoic face to become the focus. The subject is proud and dominant, similar to the animal covering her personage.

“On My Mind” is a mixed media conceptual portrait created using colored pencil, ink, metallic watercolor and acrylic, embroidery thread, and fabric. I was inspired by art nouveau design, vintage fashion, antique photographs, and the vastness of deep space. I used metallic acrylic and metallic watercolors for the background, acrylic for the space scene, colored pencil for the portrait, fabric for her dress, and embroidery. I was first inspired by an odd antique photo I found depicting a young woman holding her head as if weary or in pain, but with a hint of smile on her lips. I was drawn to the strong emotion it showed. From there, I developed what her inner psychology may look like if depicted as a physical environment. I think we can all relate at one time or another to the feeling that we have the weight and breadth of an entire universe trapped inside our head.

If you are in the area around Bay City Michigan, I’d love it if you’d check out the show! It’s running through October 23. If the travel is not feasible, at the very least you got your own (VERY)miniature “virtual tour” here. But truly, there is much more fascinating work besides just my own that I have shared, if you can it is worth a visit.

Coffee Is Love.

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So, I put an exhibit up in Espresso Milano for Midland Artists Guild last week. This was an especially fun venue exhibit for me because I pretty much lived here when I was in high school. For those of you unfamiliar with Midland, Michigan, it’s a nice town for sure but, well … there’s not a whole lot for young people to do! Hang out with friends on Saturdays drinking coffee all day, especially frappes in the summer? Not complaining too much. It was always either that, or spend the day at the mall reading comics and music magazines in Barnes and Noble, until they started shrink-wrapping the darn things so you actually had to pay for them to read :P.

Snooty face 2007.

Blast from the past : Snooty Face 2007.

My P.I.C., Erin - best friends since we were 2 and actually just had a craft day together last week!

My P.I.C. that day, Erin – best friends since we were 2, and still going strong. We actually just had a craft day together last week!

Speaking of coffee being just the best…

(a topic of conversation that I daresay never gets old, nor loses its truth), I have some really cool illustrated mugs for sale in my ebay store right now! On discount, too … sweet right? They are dishwasher safe, top rack, and really heavy and durable. I am an accidental collector of unique mugs, and can’t seem to ever stop buying drink-ware in general, so these made me super happy.

Designs available are Retro Flowers, Queenie, I'd Have Been Happier As A Bird, and Whimsical Peacock.

Designs available are Retro Flowers, Queenie, I’d Have Been Happier As A Bird, and Whimsical Peacock.

Other things I’ve been working on over this Labor Day weekend are, shockingly, Christmas plushies! I sell some of my fun creations at Imagine That!, also located in downtown Midland, and I need to have my holiday wares ready by mid-October. It’s weird to be thinking so far ahead already, but I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed getting in the holiday spirit a bit early :).

Whimsical trees and some pretty rad angels with halos made of strung sequins <3

Whimsical trees and some pretty rad angels with halos made of strung sequins ❤

Midlanders (or Saginaw/Bay City dwellers nearby such as myself), if you happen to be downtown within the next 2 months don’t forget to check out the exhibit. And for those of you in the states, I hope you enjoy your Labor Day weekend as well!

This Is Why You Should Keep Old Work Forever.

The Beauty Of It All

The Beauty Of It All, 11×14 prismacolor pencil and watercolor

For about 2 years, I had an 11×14 piece of bristol board with this woman’s face covered in flowers on it, and a metallic silver world map view behind her. She was surrounded by nothing else but white space. I was convinced it looked absolutely horrible, and I had no idea what to do with the rest of the background. I chocked it up to a loss and tossed the drawing in my storage portfolio case. A couple times I ran out of paper and thought about just using the back of it when I had a new idea and didn’t want to delay inspiration with a drive to Michaels for more bristol board. Other times I almost chopped it up into pieces for scrap paper to sketch ideas onto. I thought of posting it on my artist facebook page as a giveaway for whoever wanted it, and letting them color all over it like crazy to see what happened; an impromptu collaboration over vast distances.

Luckily, I never did any of these things. I’ve been doing a lot with watercolor lately, and was wishing I had one more piece to hang in my upcoming exhibit. I didn’t have the time to start anything else from scratch, but when I found this I decided to play around with the background and see what happened. I spontaneously dripped blues and greens and metallic silvers over the entire background, throwing the paper this way and that to guide the drips. Once I stopped over-analyzing and worrying over how terrible I thought my piece looked and just started enjoying the process again, everything came together. Sometimes even something as subtle as a bold color splashed into the backdrop can turn an entire piece around. Mine went from a drawing of a girl who looked like she had a strange, alien, flower-shaped skin disease to a pretty nice finished piece.

This is why I cannot emphasize enough, don’t toss out old, unfinished work! Paper is flat, it keeps pretty easily. I’ve my seen students do some really cool things with incomplete projects they could have tossed away. In this piece below, a student cut out elements she liked from a “practice” acrylic painting from the semester before that didn’t really turn out. These made for some great smaller blooms popping out around the central focus of the pumpkin. Even if you don’t end up turning the leftover physical piece into anything, something half-finished could at the very least provide an idea or concept for a project you do later.

And again, I have the best students ever. Unique floral mixed media for autumn.

Nancy’s autumnal mixed media, salvaging cutouts from an old acrylic practice lesson the semester before.

I’m actually constantly revisiting old work, even from as far back as high school. Most of that is also unfinished because I, like any teen, had a real short attention span. This painting, which my mom fell in love with and now has hanging over the sofa in my parents’ living room, was created from scratch in 2012. But, it was based on an old colored pencil drawing from 2005 that I never finished shading in. The particular sketchbook the original drawing was in is still in the closet of my old bedroom in my parents’ house or I would post it here, but it was a color scheme of entirely red and black and the parasol people were dressed in old-timey but super goth attire, and the faces on the parasols looked like they could all be members of a My Chemical Romance copycat band. Trust me, it was something else. Behold, the reboot.

"Wait Out The Storm", 18x24 Watercolor and Ink

“Wait Out The Storm”, 18×24 Watercolor and Ink

Now that I’ve turned you all into hoarders, I have one more all-together new piece I’d like to share. I have always been deeply interested in the steampunk aesthetic, but never created any steampunk-esque art myself. This is my first, and I’m pretty excited about how it turned out.

"Dreams Of Gold", 11x14 Prismacolor Pencil and Chalk

“Dreams Of Gold”, 11×14 Prismacolor Pencil and Chalk

The deep gold is metallic, though you can’t tell in the digital image. I was heavily inspired by the Victorian aspect of Steampunk, even turning the classic Victorian lace pattern into something metallic and industrial. I am finally going to be hanging all of these pieces up tomorrow in Espresso Milano, and will be sure to take pictures. Have any cool steampunk art you yourself have created or that you’ve seen by other artists? Throw me a link! I am a long time appreciator, but creation-wise, a novice. As I’ve promised, photos soon!

Back to Real Life, But Excited For What’s To Come.

I just got back from one of the most fun trips yet to the charming and exciting land of Ludington, MI; hiking, swimming, sketching on the beach … my boyfriend and I were determined to jam in everything that epitomizes summer before it’s too late! I vowed to not check my email to make it a true reprieve, but I did peek just once in the car on the way there, and I’m glad I did because I got some awesome news. Two of my pieces were accepted into Studio 23 in Bay City’s Women’s Perspective show for September! If you’ve read my earlier post, ladies sometimes get forgotten in the gallery scene even today, so I am excited and honored to be a part of what I’m sure is going to be a wonderful show. Below are the two works that will be showing. If you’d like to learn more about the process of creating “On My Mind”, you can visit my earlier entry focusing on this piece.

On My Mind

On My Mind

The Peacock

The Peacock

Another fun surprise was the new murals up in Ludington to take touristy photos in front of! Art truly is everywhere, and it is wonderful. Murals aside, not to be cheesy, but one can’t look at the serene layers of bright blue water, warm yellow-beige sand, and bold green foliage and not see the very world we live in as one of the largest, most complex creations to ever exist, and truly the largest, most interactive art project.

Me posing oh-so-cool in front of my favorite mural of the bunch.

Me posing oh-so-cool in front of my favorite mural of the bunch.

Behold!

Behold, bright colors! Yes, that is Spider-man on my t-shirt.

I just ate it after a wave literally knocked me on my butt while I was wading out. There were weather warnings out all day, which of course means perfect day to go swimming! Thrill seeker 4 life.

I just ate it after a huge wave literally knocked me on my butt while I was wading out. There were weather warnings out all day, which of course means perfect time to go swimming! Thrill seeker for life, man.

Back From Chicago With Amazing News!

My boyfriend and I spent the last 4 days in Chicago as a “Hooray, we don’t suck at relationships!” 3 year anniversary celebration trip. Though he’s been to Chicago far more often than I have, he had never seen The Bean so we had to rectify that immediately. It was a very educational trip – we went on a museum frenzy and probably absorbed 100x the daily recommended amount of visual stimuli. We lucked out that Rotofugi Gallery was having an opening for a show paying tribute to Tim Burton Friday night, and the night before we caught a theatrical, acrobatic rendition of “Through The Looking Glass” – it’s like they knew I was coming.

Next comes the good news part! That same Friday back in Midland, the “Piece By Piece” exhibit was debuting – one of the shows I was talking about getting ready for. I missed a call later that evening, and as I gave the voicemail a listen I was informed that I’d won Best 2D for my mixed media piece I’d entered, “The Dance”. The news was particularly exciting and surprising because this was a piece I’d struggled with. Like all mixed media works, the environment built literally “piece by piece” of book pages and fabric and thread and ink … it didn’t look too great when it was still in progress. About halfway through, the image just wasn’t coming out how I’d envisioned and I freaked out. I’d put way too much time into the project to abandon it, so I instead decided to step away for a couple of days, covering up the offender laying on my drafting table with a blank sheet of paper so that I wouldn’t even look at it. Once I decided to go back to work, I only added a tiny bit of alteration per day; I stepped back from the piece to see where it needed more texture for balance, where the colors in the background needed to be darkened, and where I needed to add more detail so parts of the piece didn’t look unfinished. Not abandoning “The Dance” paid off. What art actually looks awesome in the middle of the process, anyway? Although we expect it to, it’s impossible – it’s not yet finished! Even if you start completely despising a project, never send it straight to the bin on impulse. Walk away for a couple days and let it sit. Oftentimes you’ll come back with a fresh perspective and realize it’s not the mess you made it out to be.

“The Dance” is currently available as an 8×10 print and a numbered, limited edition ACEO print in my shop.

The view from the mirrored surface of the bean! No, my boyfriend is not imaginary. Though quite handsome I assure you, he does not like his photo being posted online, so you'll have to be content with this one of just me.

The view from the mirrored surface of the bean! No, my boyfriend is not imaginary. Though quite handsome I assure you, he does not like his photo being posted online, so you’ll have to be content with this one of just me.

From the Aquarium - I had no idea sea creatures like this even existed! Living things truly are moving, breathing sculptures - complete works of art.

From the Aquarium – I had no idea sea creatures like this even existed! Living things truly are moving, breathing sculptures – complete works of art.

The Dance, Awarded Best 2D; prismacolor pencil, ink, watercolor, fabric, book pages, embroidery thread

The Dance, Awarded Best 2D; prismacolor pencil, ink, watercolor, fabric, book pages, embroidery thread