Sunday, November 30, 2014

Another wetlands visit and news

Unseasonably warm weather motivated me to visit the wetlands by my house today. I made a few “lines” and shot some video. The leaves have fallen, so it was nice to see the area opened up. New items caught my eye, specifically bright orange berries amongst the otherwise monochromatic colors. I actually look forward to the snow (if we get much) in the upcoming months to see how the change of the seasons affects the filming.

In other news, one of my photographs was accepted into a juried exhibition at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau, MO. The opening reception is this Friday December 5, 2014. Before now, I haven’t had the chance to print or exhibit my newer photographs so this was a welcome change. Hannah and Blake Sanders juried the exhibition. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I’m back in the studio working: twice this week. Woo hoo.

Today, I heard a crash. While drawing, my cat knocked over my tripod. The legs of the tripod are taped in a precise location for my stop motion work. It is important that the camera and the lights stay in the same place every shot for consistency. But not today. This is the same cat who wants in the room and then, once inside, he immediately wants to be let out. If I shut the door he cries and paws at the door.  According to one veterinarian this cat is “the loudest cat I’ve ever heard.” This veterinarian was in his 60s, at least.

As soon as I opened the door to the studio, the other cat jumped up onto the table and looked at me. She decided to lie on all of my papers in the middle of the table-the table where I often have print outs and books I’m working on. It’s like I need to clear a place for her as well. And she’s stocky, not fat, but stocky. This particular cat is also a chewer and I have watched her chew off a corner of a print so really nothing of any value can be left out. I’ve found cords chewed in half as well as folders and books with chewed off corners so I’m always vigilant with this one.

The other day one of them, I’m pretty sure the loud one, killed a mouse and left it right where I plug in my computer in the studio. It wasn’t so much the sight of the mouse but the surprise of it all. Why did he have to leave it there right where I would get up close and personal with the poor, dead thing?

These are my monsters and distractions: cats in the studio.

"The light is perfect, just stay there. Dammit!"

Out, but considering going in


Sunday, November 2, 2014

The News

I have been in a whirlwind the last three weeks. The new news is that I got a job as the curator of exhibits at the SIUC museum. With my start date around the corner, I planned to use my final week as a full time artist to think about and plan my transition back into full time work while continuing my artmaking practice. Instead, I used my last week as a full time artist to mourn the loss of my beautiful grandmother.

Since starting the job, things have moved at a much faster pace and I have had little time to sit and reflect about the last month. As far as this blog, I plan to post once a week about my artmaking travails. That is the best I can aim for.

For now, I reflect on choosing to be unemployed (in one sense) so that I could come back to my home state and practice my art in earnest. When people ask if I regret this choice, I give a definitive "no." My choice took time, lots of discussions, and a little bit of mental preparation. There were times when I felt stupid because no matter how much I planned; I still took a leap of faith in myself. I left a job without knowing what would happen and how, if ever, my career would pick back up again, or even if I would want to resume a career at a university. My partner, close friends, and family took this leap with me and I don't think I can  thank them enough for their support when my decisions defied common sense. I can say with certainty: the people in your day-to-day life can make a world of difference in your personal happiness. 

I have a new appreciation for how we define ourselves. In the last four months, I felt awkward not having a job title to give when I met people for the first time. Before I became a full time artist, I believed in the business logic of climbing up my own career ladder. Job titles defined my ambition, the person I am. Without a title, it was difficult for me to explain why I was at various art events or how I knew certain people. The previous job title was a part of a past life and I didn’t want it to define me anymore.

In the last four months I gained momentum working on projects I had only thought about until that point. Now I cannot imagine not creating. I cannot imagine stopping what I started. So I’m about to embark again into a new territory where I set boundaries and demand time to create. I have some tools in my belt and some experience. I'll let you know what works along the way. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Art and loss

This is a hard post to write. Recently my grandmother passed away and she was by far one of my favorite people. She was an integral part of me becoming an artist, simply because she told me I could do whatever I wanted to do with my life. While a student, I showed her my drawings from a life drawing class and she said they were wonderful and she was happy for me. She told me I could do it.

Art impressed my grandmother. That fact alone made it worth doing. She told me about the emotion in Michelangelo’s Pieta, especially the one he created later in his life. She told me it is a much better Pieta than the one he created earlier in his life. I suppose it’s because life experiences accumulate and we eventually learn what it means to feel pain and loss. Perhaps later in life artists figure out what is worth expressing.

I don’t really know how to end this post. Events and loss can rattle you in unexpected ways. I guess the only thing there is to do is to keep making art, even if it’s with a little more sorrow.

My grandma Erazmus

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another line and another rope drawing

This week has been productive, despite not posting on the blog until today! I’ve been sticking to my calendar and I find that helps in moving me along with projects.

This week I (sort of) finished another drawing, had a great photo shoot on a golf course, and spent another day outside making some “lines” with natural materials. The video and photograph are from this past Monday’s work.

I am going to continue using pieces of bark I find at the entrance of the wetlands where I work to create one very long line amidst this particular patch of trees.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Studio visit avec moi

It’s been a while since I made a post with a studio shot.

In the last month and a half, I’ve finished three drawings (the white free falling rope ones) and now I’m onto another drawing (on the easel). My video, Undrawn, is coming along. Now, I am trying to figure out how to make the transition in the video from drawings to photographs. As of right now, I have ‘small aquarium’ on my ‘to buy’ list for the video.

I find even the best laid plans are subject for revision in the midst of a long-term art project.


Free Fall I and III, charcoal and gesso on paper.