Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review

At the end of each year I like to take stock and gather the evidence of my life and work around me. I like to contemplate what I have accomplished, what I haven’t and what comes next. I haven’t been writing as regularly for a while now and especially since I moved my blog over here to my site. I could have easily blown this exercise off this year but when I really thought about it I knew I had to write.

What a year this has been, with it’s ups and downs, twists and turns. Like a long sit in a waiting room for days at a time and then like a rocket speeding through the others. So much was done and so much wasn’t and when I sit here at the table on Iona Street in Edinburgh, Scotland listening to music on my headphones on the last day of 2014, I know that so much has changed. I am changed. I am a rocket and I am a waiting room and this is life.

So now for the evidence: 2014 Snippets from old journals and blogs.

January:

I completed my commission for Royal Blind as part of their first ever Royal Blind Week aiming to raise awareness and vital funds for the services they offer for the blind and partially sighted. My work was also featured on the Royal Blind’s website alongside an interview with me as well. I really enjoyed creating the painting and so glad I was able to participate in the exhibition in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In publishing news, I was notified that Pocket full of live wires from my 2010 series, Falling into Sound would be published alongside a poem written by New Hampshire’s state poet laureate Alice B. Fogel entitled Full of Life. Ms. Fogel’s poem was written in response to my painting and will be published in the journal LETTERS produced by students from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. After receiving that great news, I was contacted again by the editor of the journal and asked if I would be interested in having two of my Ghosts of the past series of works published as well.

I also offered one of my Ghosts of the past paintings as a reproduction to the Creative Action Network in partnership with Obama’s Organizing For Action.

It was during this time that it was confirmed that the American debut of my Ghosts of the Past Exposed series had been picked up by a gallery. I had a lovely exhibition at the Anne Kittrell Gallery at the University of Arkansas. The exhibition was on display February 17th - March 7th. There was an article about the exhibition in the University’s newspaper and on their website as well.

In other creation news, at the end of January I completed a small complicated work that gave me all kinds of wonderful trouble, called I will. This piece was sent to Scotland for an exhibition at Little Ox Gallery in Edinburgh.

February:

I started off the month making fourteen cards from a new series called handmade love. The cards were initially created because of Valentine’s Day. I wanted to create the kind of card that I would like to receive or give. They were a joy to make.

By the middle to late February all the paintings in exhibitions were up and on display, whether it was the Ghosts of the past exhibition at the University of Arkansas or the larger painting in the Royal Blind Exhibition or the small work in the Little Ox gallery exhibition, Here We Are. It was a joy to be participating in two internationally group shows and one local solo exhibition.

Towards the end of the month I painted four more new works in a continuation of my abstract landscape works on paper inspired by Scotland. I was very pleased with the reception of this popular series.

March:

At the beginning of the month, I found myself wanting to use my studio space more and try to feel comfortable and at home in the space as I have been more or less nomadic ever since the old underground closed. It was good to spend time in my attic studio and get ready to work again on larger works.

It was also at this time that I started planning a series of four, two hour workshops on the business aspect of art. I was hoping to teach this locally but for now I am looking forward to marketing this online as a subscription service in the near future.

Also during this month, I had an impromptu spring sale of some of my older color works from 2004/5 and one that remained from 2009. I found 4 out of the 5 paintings new homes! It was lovely to connect with folks that were excited to get a larger piece of mine for a great price. I was so pleased.

Later in March, with the exhibitions now complete there was time for some contemplation about making art, why I do it, my identity as an artist and feasibility of it all. It was a bit of doubtful time. Even with the successes in my career it just felt a bit like it was all slipping away and that perhaps I should give up. But, I didn’t. I started painting in my studio again and getting more comfortable up there all the while. First working on a older color piece and then leaving it behind to start a new series.I also decided to offer a selection of some of my older color works from 2008’s Evidence of the Disappearance series as archival reproductions over on Society 6.

At the end of the month the Spring 2014 issue of LETTERS was published. I was honored to have my work featured on the cover and three of my paintings within the journal from YALE as well.

April:

I was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Scottish Society of Northwest Arkansas. I gave a talk about my project, my research and my time in Scotland. It was a lovely meeting and really the highlight of the month. I showed my entire Ghosts of the past body of work to the attentive audience and loved the intimate setting of the event. It was a lovely opportunity that I fully enjoyed.

I kept working on my new series in the studio, they were evolving in a way I never really imagined but then at the same time it was perfect. I love it when art becomes serendipitous and teaches me while I create it. This new series is all about this life and the rebuilding process; a process that I know all too well from recent years.

Then suddenly in mid April I was having amazing conversations about art and was brought back to life. I know that sounds dramatic but it was so good to be back in the thick of it, making the art I needed to make, writing the blogs that needed writing and having these deep conversations and feeling understood and in my element. It had been such a long time since I had felt this way. I produced 8 new paintings that knocked my socks off. These paintings, I believe represent a shift in my thinking, my beliefs, my self esteem and my worth as a woman and as an artist. They are strong at the same time fragile, they are beautiful at the same time raw, they are as much about rebuilding as they are tearing down. I will be good to these works as they have been good to me.

This month I also started a group on facebook called Women’s Work. I wanted a place where women artists could share their art, inspirations, ideas and struggles. A place to celebrate all the art that women create and to learn about new artists and ideas. It’s just getting started but so far it seems like a good space. I would like to curate exhibitions out of the group eventually and do more with it as it unfolds. We have to create the change we want to see.

May

I have been working in my studio on some more new 12x12” works on panel from the series I revealed last week. I am currently researching potential exhibitions and galleries in which to show these new works. I also recently completed a 9x12” commission on paper. I have a large commission that I am looking forward to starting in the near future. But first I must finish the rest of this series. I would like to paint on larger panels. We will see if it is in the cards.

4 months (and a touch of May) have come and gone. I have participated in two international group exhibitions, had a solo exhibition, supported two causes near to my heart through my art, was published, enjoyed a public speaking engagement and created thirty-three works this year so far.

I’ll be honest, this is a hard gig. I keep going but it keeps getting harder to maintain a life lived in honor of my true calling and my passion. In the past I wondered if I even had a right to live my life in this way. I have come to a conclusion. I do. I have the right to make and create my art, write my truth and sing my songs. It doesn’t always pay but I am going to do it. You know this about me.

Towards the middle of May, I was having a bit of hard time, I was missing Stewart and my other far away friends desperately. I was broke and I didn’t know how I was ever going to get back to Edinburgh again. It was a very lonely and depressing time. I felt like I was doing everything “right” (meditation, writing, relaxation exercises, exercising regularly etc.) but to no avail. I took a six week break from blog writing and art making and started seeing a brilliant counselor.

June

And then something amazing happened. Stewart asked me to marry him and I said yes!
What a beautiful thing and yes it really was a bit of a surprise.
We got married June 14th. It was a beautiful day. Soon after our wedding, we started the U.K. Visa process which is arduous, expensive and required a lot of time and energy. The finished application was received in England on July 4th (happy independence day!) and we should find out if it was approved in the next 3-4 weeks. If approved, I will be moving to Scotland! With a marriage proposal on June 4th, a wedding ten days later and then a visa to apply for it was a busy time

July

My visa was approved by the middle of the month. Now was the time to buy a ticket, sell my stuff and start over in a new country.

August - September

I wrote one more blog over at the old studio blog and in the Arkansas heat I started slowly selling off my possessions and available art and getting my affairs in order. It was harder than I thought it would be.I am grateful that I had the support of my brilliant counselor, Stewart, and my dear friends that listened to me, drank with me and helped me through my tears and helped me pack, sell and deal with everything during this time. Thinking about this time now seems like a dream, it was so hard and I was moving in slow motion. However, it was also at this time due to selling most of my possessions that I was able to pay of my credit card debt and build a small nest egg to sustain me for the first few months of living in Edinburgh.

My art found many lovely homes during my pack up and moving time and that helped to give me strength and remind me of my purpose in this life which helped build my confidence to get it all done. Also during this time I shipped off the 8 works I had created earlier in the year for a traveling group show called Abstract Arkansas that I was thrilled to be part of. It was a crazy time to be packing and shipping art all over the country but again it made me happy and anything that made me happy helped in the last minute details and allowed me to hug my dear friend Sarah good bye at the airport with tears in my eyes and get on that plane. To everyone that helped and loved me during this time, thank you.

On Sept 26th, I arrived in Edinburgh! It was momentous in so many ways and so lovely to return to Stewart without a leaving date hanging over us (well at least until the next visa application in two and a half years). The past 3 months have been all about settling in here and taking care of the business of my making Edinburgh my home and getting the official documents lined up to help in the visa process in the future. It has been so lovely to see my friends here, Stewart’s family and many of my favorite places. I feel at home.

I have also managed to meet new people, explore new places and make art as well. I have created 12 small works on paper for my Etsy shop and 4 12x12” works so far in a very small bedroom studio space. I have shown two of the 12x12” at the lovely Union Gallery and the two others at the Sit in/Take Away exhibition as part of the Society of Scottish Artists exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy. I joined the Society as well which enabled me to take part in the exhibition.

We recently rented a studio space at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall that we are in the process of moving into right now. I can’t wait to see what happens in there in 2015 for not only me but for Stewart and his work. We also just adopted a lovely tabby cat fellow named Theo and are getting to the know his sweet soul. It is so wonderful to have a cat again. We had dreamed of future cat for a long time and he is now here. So everything is fitting into place, everything I imagined when I meditated, wrote in my journals or spoke about with my therapist is forming into a sweet reality after a lot of hard work.

I didn’t paint hundreds of paintings this year as I usually do, I think I managed 49 or so and I am okay with that. I need to focus on what I accomplished. I had one solo exhibition (it must be noted that the gallery paid me good money just to show my work- thank you, I lived off that money for longer than most could) and I had work in five group (4 were in Edinburgh) shows as well. I was published in a Yale journal. I gave an art talk to the Scottish Society on Northwest Arkansas. I got married, I sold my things, got myself out of debt and I got on a plane to start a new beautiful life with a fabulous man (who did amazing things all year with the Scottish YES campaign). Stewart blew me away everyday with his talent and dedication to the cause and yet he still showed up to support and love me all the while through the distance of 4000 miles.

What a year. If you have read all of this… you are amazing. Thank you. If you are part of my tribe and have had a kind word or ear for me and supported me over the years, thank you. If you came to our wedding or wedding reception, thank you. If you came to my moving sales or showed up and bought things and art after the sales, thank you. If you are one of my Edinburgh friends, thanks for making me feel so comfortable here. I am nothing with out my people in this world and I am lucky to have found you all. This year was a test and a triumph. Thank you for sharing it with me.

I am ready to welcome 2015.

Don’t forget the world needs you and your art (whatever it may be). Keep fighting!

Love,

Megan

Monday, December 8, 2014

A life with purpose

I have waited longer than I intended, I meant to write here sooner than this. I’ve been a little busy working, a little lazy and perhaps a bit dreamy. I think I have just been getting on with living.

Last time, I mentioned I had carved out a small studio space and it is really tiny but I am loving it more and more. There are many things to appreciate about it. I love the big window and enjoy observing the light on the chimney’s and buildings that make up my view. I like seeing the leaves thinning out on the big tree as Autumn turns to Winter. This window helps me connect to nature. I like watching the magpies hopping on the roof lines and the black cat that sits in the window of a neighbor’s flat. I like watching the light as it changes and the clouds as they roll by. If anything the older I get the more I realize how in tune I am with my environment and especially nature and how much I need it to ground and inspire me.

Another benefit of my studio is that it is so small I must work cleanly.I also just like the challenge. I want to see how much I can create in this 30 square feet of space. As my life is starting over in many ways, I feel like it is a good time for my studio practice to change as well and the work will change accordingly. I am very excited by where it is going. I have always struggled with “enough.” What is enough when it comes to art? What if I just like how this paper meets this edge and how this line crosses it? If it makes my heart sing, can it be enough? Do I really have to put paint on it or draw something else there or add another layer? I also struggle with what is enough in my life.This is what I am finding again and again too. Art doesn’t lie. Art shows me what I am working on inside and what I am hiding from (I will leave this topic for another post).

So last time I mentioned I had just started two new 12x12” pieces on panel. Well I finished those just in time for them to be included in the Christmas Exhibition at Union Gallery on Broughton Street in Edinburgh. The exhibition opened on Friday, November 7th and it was lovely to have work in the exhibition and chat with folks at the opening. I was in the same exhibition in 2011/2012. Union Gallery is a great space to show work and it was a special treat to have my work on a gallery wall near Stewart’s. He had three pieces in the exhibition as well. It is a great exhibition and if you are in Edinburgh it will be up through January 31st. We also had a lovely opportunity to watch the gallery the day after the opening on that following Saturday. It was great to be surrounded by art and to really get to know the art by the other stellar artists a little better. It was lovely to see people come into the gallery and really engage with the work. As many of my friends know, there isn’t much I like more than talking with people about art and engaging folks with work so it was a very welcomed way to spend a day.

The following Sunday I was off for an adventure with Stewart’s mom, Pat and her friend Terry. We went to check out the New Lanark Wold Heritage site that was hosting The Great Scottish Tapestry. It was my first time to New Lanark and my second time to view the inspiring tapestry. It was a lovely day trip, the view of the River Clyde was very impressive and the yellow and gold of the leaves around the site were beautiful too. It was a lovely weekend.

** I am so behind in my writing. I am trying to not be bothered about this and slowly catch up or just let it go and live in the moment. I do know I feel better when I write.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Collecting treasure

I want to write but my mind is blank so I will start with what I know. It is 7:23 in the morning and I am sitting at the table freshly showered but have not yet had my tea. The window is open and if I go towards it there is the wind to be felt rushing in. I hear seagulls in the distance.The city is quiet, the wood works factory across the street is silent on Sunday, so there will be no flurry of worker trucks and vans and no beeping.

I have my first swallow of tea. It is good, hot and strong. It wakes up my mouth as it splashes against a sensitive tooth. I see a bird fly across the sky and I see the different levels of clouds drifting towards the sea. It reminds me of flying in over the forth, the water on one side and the landscape on the other, coming to land in Edinburgh in the early morning, around this time. So calm and peaceful, so much potential upon arriving. It’s been a little over 5 weeks.

I have seen so much beauty and I have been in the company of so many lovely people. I have probably done a years worth of activities in a little over a month, well probably not but that is how it feels.

I know I sleep differently here, I don’t wake up at 3 in the morning anymore. I usually sleep from 10/11 at night - 7/8 in the morning.. So, I am definitely catching up on my sleep. I do miss the Arkansas light upon waking and being surrounded by nature but those are just the trade offs in the process.

It is lovely to have someone to eat meals with and I enjoy cooking for Stewart. That has been a joy, our well organized, spice laden kitchen just makes cooking a snap. I am still trying to strike a healthy balance of what and how much to eat. There are so many new things to try and old familiar favorites to have again. I find the days I make a simple meal of roasted vegetables or just have a salad to be comforting as it brings a bit of order to the days where the beer and curry flows and the onion bhajji are too tempting not to eat. I have never lived in a city of this size before and sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy store.

I have carved out a studio space in the bedroom, it is ridiculously tiny but I am determined to make it work. I already have two 12x12” paintings on the go currently and I hope to finish them up later this week. It feels exciting to be working again and getting back to that meditative place that I know makes me a better and happier person. We will see what happens.

Now for a little reportage of recent events: We went to the Royal Botanic Garden at night last Thursday for a light and sound installation throughout the garden. It was mesmerizing, magical and really inspired me. The air felt so good and fresh and it was so exciting to be walking around the garden at night taking in all the beauty. I had learned that this event was going to happen back in August when I was still in Arkansas and I used the idea of being able to come and see it once I got here to motivate me when my energy was low. It was a dream come true. Just unbelievable.

We made our own costumes out of what we had available around the house and went as Twin Peaks to a Halloween party. It was fun to come up with an idea and make it happen together. Always exciting to do creative things as a couple. We laughed a lot while we were making the peaks and even listened to the Twin Peaks soundtrack while we worked. The party was lovely. I am lucky to have such good friends here and a sense of community, it has made moving that much easier.

I just looked at the title of this post and remembered my original idea; treasure! I have been lucky to find some great pieces of vintage beauty for the flat in recent weeks.The universe has been rewarding me for checking in regularly with a few of my favorite charity shops nearby. We found some beautiful blue dishes (10 pieces) from 1914 that have transformed eating into art and have brought me a lot of peace just in the last week. Strange that dishes can do that but they really can. I also scored a red acoustic guitar from a charity shop one morning last week on the way home from signing up with a doctor on the National Health Service (NHS); an important moving milestone worth noting on it’s own but the guitar was a trifle more exciting. I also found a vintage Scottish stag with a thistle brooch and a clipper ship tea caddy yesterday at the Edinburgh flea market.

These treasures are more than just things to me. They are an anchor and give me connection to my new life. I brought so little with me and missed some of my things more than I dared admit. When I see new treasures that can help me to tell my story and ground me here, it is very special. More and more I feel that life is found and created, as is home and now I have a chance to curate a new one.

Things are romantic here, cracked, tarnished and of the sea…

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In this moment I am content

Nature is my solace in this transition. There is so much beauty to be found here. The yellowing trees against the blue, grey green sky. The clouds that move so quickly past my window. The wind that stirs and whirls around the edges of the old buildings.

The rain that blows in and stops as soon as it starts, the loch and it’s ripples and reeds. The bench in the sunshine with the breeze in my hair and across my face.

The structures, stacked and layered, cut the sky into parcels. The negative space always evident, a secondary force.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Three weeks in…

Three weeks come and gone. Seems longer, seems short, seems about right. It’s been a strange time. Some days I cry like a child for my things that I left behind and the familiarity of my house, town and routine. Some days I just worry about my left behind things and the graves of my cats but I know I have to let go and trust somehow that they will be okay. Some days it feels like I have lived here my whole life and I am waking up from a dream like in the Wizard of Oz.

Some days I don’t think I have done enough in these past three weeks and I get nervous that I am not living up to my potential. There is some sort of internal/external pressure I feel to have a grand adventure for everyone else who is not able. I do this to myself.

I am having a grand adventure every time I open my eyes and I have done enough.

Evidence: Paper work
Applied for and interviewed for my National Insurance Number (should get in 6 weeks)
Applied for my library card
Name put on the council tax
Name put on gas and electric

Once I get more formal documents with my name sent here (proof of address) I will be able to get a bank account, phone and sign up with a doctor and dentist on the NHS. I will also have my name added to other bills (phone, internet) soon. Also as soon as I start working again properly as a self employed artist I will be applying with the HMRC.

Evidence: Flat
Had name added to the door
Cooked some good meals in the kitchen.
Have the vitamins I need and the tea and shampoo I like (these little things matter)
Have sorted through things with Stewart and we are making more space for me and for us in the flat so it feels more like our place and less just his. This is a tricky balance but I love 90% of Stewart’s things so it is not too hard and he seems ready for a bit of a clear out. So there have been trips to donate to the charity shops and to recycle and trash. Stewart is amazing.

I went to some charity shops last week and got a couple of things on my own for the flat which helped me feel more at home and encouraged future changes. We went to Ikea and bought several items that helped make the flat feel more like us. That is no simple feat without a car but 4 buses and 2 backpacks and big blue bags later we were pretty happy with our new things. It is fun to look at things together and think about how they will work with the things we already have to make it feel more like home. Stewart has been a champion about all of this and each day the place feels more like home for us both. We’ve even been thinking about making “future cat” a reality and I have fallen in love with several tabby’s on the internet but it might still be too soon for a pet. We’ll see…

Evidence: Social
We’ve been to a political rally. We had lunch with Stewart’s mom after the rally. We’ve been to a lovely art opening for Alison at Union Gallery and chatted with Kevin, Keith and Colby. We’ve met up with some of Stewart’s YES Edinburgh North and Leith friends; Jane, Tam, Paul, Craig for curry and drinks. We met up with Stewart’s Dad and youngest sister, Jade at the Word of Mouth Cafe for breakfast. We’ve met up with James for “open doors days” to explore some beautiful places in the city and then had drinks with James and Philip at the Tourmalet. We met up with Jenni at the Tourmalet for a chat. We met up with Maggie and Dave for fresh gifted veggies and beer at the Tourmalet too. (My favorite pub, the Tourmalet features heavily the past three weeks!) I met up with a new friend Jane at a cafe for a coffee by the sea in Portobello. Stewart and I have had our own Portobello trip as well, bumping into his boss/friend from YES headquarters (also named), Stewart. We’ve been to an amazing dinner at Empires Cafe with Ever, Cinnamon, Susan, Sergio, Peikko and Rachel.I just had another lovely/amazing visit with Jenni (and her fabulous cat) at her flat yesterday. We have plans for dinner with Stewart’s mom this weekend and I have another coffee date with a new friend, Annie scheduled for Monday. Have I mentioned that I am an introvert?

Evidence: The City Environs
Stewart and I have walked places most days enjoying the Royal Botanic Gardens, The cycle paths, Old and New Town and Princes Street Gardens (especially the newly reopened bit), The Royal Mile, Dunbar’s Close Gardens, Greyfriars Kirkyard and the parks and cemeteries around the neighborhood. We have browsed shops, went to the Edinburgh Flea Market and eaten at Haq’s curry, Embo, Word of Mouth and City Cafe and of course visited the Tourmalet on numerous occasions and even popped into the Barony (my old favorite).

Three weeks.

While this has happened. I also requested my absentee ballot to be sent to me from home and voted (need to send it back!). I finally managed to have my mail forwarded to my folks, all my utilities turned off back home (once I was over here) and still need to chase down bits of money owed to me from those companies. I have been chatting with my Mom and a possible fix it guy/old friend for the old house and staying involved in that process as it gets rented out. I have also been trying to maintain my non Edinburgh friendships as well. I have managed to write 4 blogs and have taken many photographs.

I am having a grand adventure every time I open my eyes and I have done enough.

And there is something around the edges, I am on the cusp.

Winter is in my bones
Filled with thirsty roots
All the things I gave away without trying
Little packets and parcels
(twine, thimbles, tea, wooden spools)
It’s coming and I will be ready…

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meanwhile back in Arkansas… Art News!

I was going through papers, making countless trips to the donation and recycling center to clear my house before the big move. I could have just blown off the opportunity and said I was too overwhelmed to participate but that really isn’t my style. Instead, I sat myself down to get my latest paintings “show ready” two days before the gallery deadline. This all happened the week I left Fayetteville to come to Edinburgh…

It felt good to switch gears, get paint on my shirt and have an art moment in my soon to be old studio in the midst of chaos. It was good to be reminded that I was more than moving boxes, yard sales and overwhelmed tears. I was still an artist with deadlines, exhibitions and responsibilities. I am always grateful for the opportunity to show and share my work and this instance was no exception.

I am very pleased to be part of this impressive group exhibition, featuring some of the best abstract artists from around Arkansas; Dustyn Bork, Justin Bowles, Megan Chapman, Donnie Copeland, Sam King, Don Lee, Sammie Peters and Steven Wise.

Abstract ARt- features contemporary modes of painting, drawing, and printmaking exploring the theme of abstraction.The exhibition runs from September 22 – October 31 in the Kresge Gallery in the Alphin Humanities Building at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. If you are in or around the area please stop by before October 31st to catch the show.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wandering in the sun

It’s 10 pm and I thought a quick post before bed was in order. I want to get in the habit of writing smaller posts but more regularly with this new blog.

This time last week I was getting ready to board my flight from Chicago to Edinburgh. Such a smooth journey. Well, I guess almost anything would seem smooth after months of preparing to leave and selling everything I could. That was exhausting work. I lucked out on the flight, having a whole row to myself and the 7 hour journey was punctuated by sleep, bad films and meals and beverages brought by the friendly air stewards. They even called me Meegan rather than Maygun and anytime a stranger does that I know I am having a good day. I have been here almost a week already and it’s hard to believe. I wouldn’t say I have jet lag but I must as time seems to blur and I am pretty tired here and there.

I am not sure how this starts. How life in another country starts, you know, how it feels official? Right now I am just getting my bearings by going to some of my favorite places. This part might be more honeymoon/holiday but what if life could feel like that always? Perhaps it can.

Right now it is feeling like I never left, like an alternate universe and I have been here the whole time. Sitting at The Tourmalet watching the sun set on the chimneys outside was like taking a warm bath. Walking down the familiar streets and seeing the Arthur’s seat rising up behind the Parliament building and seeing all the Scottish flags waving in the sky was like seeing a technicolor film for the first time. I am not sure if it has hit me that I actually live here.

In the meantime I will keep writing down my observations. I have gotten out and walked every day but one since I arrived. I have enjoyed the shops and the friendly shop keepers. I have enjoyed the grittiness of the city and the majesty of the gardens and green spaces. I have enjoyed cooking meals at home in the flat. I am excited to wake up every morning and have a great cup of tea in front of the living room windows. I am not sure if I am capable of taking things for granted in my life anymore and I am glad. Tomorrow is a new day, let’s see what it holds.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Promises Kept

I have moved to Scotland. I am not just visiting this time. I have moved. I am not sure when that will truly sink in or if it even needs to.

This is my third time to fly into Edinburgh. I spent four months here in 2012 and six in 2013. Each time I arrive it seems momentous on a very personal level. In 2012 it was my first time out of the country with my new passport and my first solo trip by plane. I was leaving my home town after the version of the arts organization I had been part for three years dissolved. A good time to leave.

In 2013 I had a plan to discover my Scottish roots, see the Highlands and make art that explored the real and imagined stories of my ancestors. I wanted to immerse myself in Edinburgh as if I truly lived there during that six month visit. My plan worked, it became my home in my heart. A couple of days before I left, I made a promise on top of the warm slate tiles of the Campbell Castle in Dollar, Scotland. I kissed my hand, touched the tile, closed my eyes and silently in the afternoon sunshine, promised I would be back. I didn’t know how or when but I promised.

In 2014, after what I can only consider my year of loneliness and poverty in my hometown, I am back in Scotland! I arrived one year and two weeks after I made that castle promise. This time I happily arrived as Stewart Bremner’s wife with my new visa that is good for two and a half years. This time, I cleared out my entire family home of everything but a small padlocked storage room of select possessions and arrived with just two suitcases and a carry on. This time, I arrived debt free for the first time in four years - selling eighty percent of ones possessions, a car and paintings has it’s perks! This time I am free to work and really start again. This time I arrived as an immigrant. This Campbell has come home.

At forty-two years old I may know what I am truly capable of for the first time in my life. I am grateful for the past four years for giving me that gift. I thank the moments of poverty, loneliness, tears, long distance, loss and self doubt. I thank the moments of self reliance, independence, perseverance, dreams and dedication. I celebrate the thrill of being alive to feel these ups and downs. I celebrate the strength and courage this love for myself and for Stewart can inspire. I celebrate my friends and family who rose to the occasion to support me with encouragement, care, breaks on the rent, meals and drinks out on them and gifts that helped when I felt the lack. I celebrate my dear friends that helped me in the last months when I was completely overwhelmed and helped to make sure it all got done in the end. When I see something beautiful, I will see it for you. When I rise to the occasion when I am scared, I will rise for you. When I make art, I will make it for you…

Monday, September 29, 2014

Change of address....with an edit!




Feb 2016: Update! I started a new blog once I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland in late September of 2014 over on my website but I found I wasn't writing as much I wanted to and so returned to my Studio blog here on blogger in December of 2015 where I am again, writing every Friday. 

I have added the 10 posts that sporadically spanned my first six months in Edinburgh from my website to this blog (there are no photos on these posts) if you really want want to see the photos with the text please visit my website. http://www.meganchapman.com/a-cup-of-tea-and-a-blether.

Thank you for being flexible! It's so good to be back here!

Megan

Friday, August 1, 2014

Waiting no more...

Going through my studio archives looking at old drawings

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

― Alice Walker, Living by the Word

I received my U.K Visa this week! That means that once my affairs are settled here and my possessions I am willing to part with are sold off that I can move to Edinburgh, Scotland and live with Stewart!
Here's to new adventures, the future and more! Art changes lives, I know this much is true.

Friday, July 25, 2014

These boots are made for walking

The Pink Tunic
Tamara de Lempicka
1927
Hello Lovely Readers! 

I hope you have had a good week. I have thought about art, talked about art and looked at art. I have had a few ideas for a couple of new series. I even sold a small $10 piece this week from the sale section of my Etsy shop. 

I have also felt like I am not doing enough, making enough and especially not selling enough. I have gone down a spiral of doubt and shame surrounding my art career at present. I have questioned myself, my worth and the viability of being a self employed artist. Just another week in the studio.

The highlight of the business week was having one of my pieces featured on the front page of Etsy for an hour, which drove several hundreds of views to my shop which felt really great but there were no sales as a result of the excitement.

It is hard not to take personally or to wonder where things went amiss or what I could be doing differently besides working more, putting on an even braver face or learning the ends and outs of whatever the latest marketing tool that is hot right now on the interwebs. Part of me just wants to start over with a different business model in this new economic climate.

And maybe that's just what I'll do...

Today, I will leave you with some work by Tamara de Lempicka that has been inspiring me this past week.


Nude with Dove
Tamara de Lempicka
1927
The Orange Scarf
Tamara de Lempicka
1927
Tamara de Lempicka
Nana de Herrera
1928/1929
The Green Turban
Tamara de Lempicka
1929

Friday, July 18, 2014

Today I am an artist

To see and speak ©2011 Megan Chapman 

"You are what you do today, not what you did yesterday" this is a quote from a book about money found on my walk in the park this morning.

I needed that message. The universe speaks to me in unexpected ways, perhaps it does to you as well. I am not always listening but I am always glad when I do. 

Once home from the park, I read some more from the book and then I made some art just for me. Today I am an artist. This week I did other purposeful art related things. I submitted my work to a large agency (who knows what will come of it but I did it). I looked through some of my older work in the studio and decided to have a sale. I organized my Etsy shop and decided to have a sale there too. I met with a patron yesterday and about her special commission I painted for her and she seemed pleased.

In my life, I look for the lessons to be learned and these lean years are providing me with many. Today I am an artist. I hope I will be tomorrow as well.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next week, keep fighting.

If you are looking for my Summer Sale. Click here. Please send me an email at megancha@gmail.com if you are interested in one of those works, I would love them to find good homes as I downsize.

If you are looking for my Etsy $10 Sale. Click here. Everything is affordable in my Etsy shop, enjoy a rummage but those fourteen pieces are especially so.

Friday, July 11, 2014

It's all the rage...

Another place and time, Another palette

There are two things that have sat me down to write this blog today on the actual day that my blog is supposed to hit the virtual news stand. The first, is the new Interpol song on repeat (more on that later) and the promise to myself that I get an iced-chai soy latte once I have written this post.

In other news, I have a heart monitor on my chest for the next 48hrs. It should be a metaphor for something. No worries, instead it's just a test.

So back to Interpol. If you have been a long time reader of this blog you will know that the band was a muse, a talisman, a curvy path to a type of renewed youth as well as marking the beginning of the end to my past life. They inspired a hope, a fever, a desire, a sense of place and many paintings and a star struck love that saw me through the dark times. I owe whole series of paintings to the band.

In September they will be releasing a new album entitled, "El Pintor,"an anagram! As always Interpol fits like an old shoe. Like many fans will say, the first two albums are the best and I go along for the ride and mine for gems on the last two. The third album afforded me the luxury of seeing them three times and while they were supporting their last album, I saw them once. Perhaps the next time I see them will be in Scotland in support of their fifth. They are artists; they evolve and change and I watch and appreciate as a fan does.

Why am I going on about this band yet again in my blog and not talking about painting and art?

1. All my energy is going towards surviving right now and my head space hasn't really been in the zone for art making. Maslow's hierarchy of needs stuff.

2. I am hoping the band is still my good luck charm.

Do I get my latte yet?




Friday, July 4, 2014

Where to begin...

A collection of fears. Created June 2nd

I can't catch up so I will just have to start in the now.

My dear readers if there are any of you left, I am afraid I have been absent for a long while here at my studio blog. So much has happened in the six weeks I have been "away." Where to begin? Today, because if I focussed on all the yesterdays I would never write again.

This blog is a record of my art life and if I haven't been writing for six weeks where has my art life gone? It is still here, just perhaps dimly lit or stuffed in a box in the attic to be opened on a rainy day. Well, that day has come. Let's discover it again, together.

I have felt never more free and never more censored in the past four years of my life. I have felt never more rich and I never more poor as well. I have walked through a mysterious time and one day I will tell you all about it. Suffice it to say, because of this I am forever changed, as is my art and the way I write about it and share it.

Let's get to the nuts and bolts:

Art.

What a mess. I am not sure what to do with mine currently, I don't know where or what is the best market is for it or how to proceed and how I can continue to make it. I am represented by a couple of galleries and I have my Etsy shop. However, that is not enough to sustain oneself if my only source of income is from my work. Do not let the tone fool you, this is not the tone of someone giving up. This is the tone of a practical and honest artist that has a BFA and better sales skills than most and has been consistently making, selling, showing and talking about art for the past twenty years. I am in analytic mode and I will figure it out.

Life.

What a beautiful thing. I am not sure what to do with mine currently. What I do know is that I am in love and I got married June 14th to Stewart Bremner. It was a beautiful day. Soon after our wedding, we started the U.K. Visa process which is arduous, expensive and required a lot of time and energy. The finished application was received in England on July 4th (happy independence day!) and we should find out if it was approved in the next 3-4 weeks. If approved, I will be moving to Scotland! With a marriage proposal on June 4th, a wedding ten days later and then a visa to apply for, one might quickly realize another reason why my blog has fallen to the wayside temporarily.

I may go back in time and fill in the gaps with writing about particular moments I can remember from the past 6 weeks or I may not. Just sitting down here to write has been helpful to my psyche. Time is so weird and moves so fast but sitting down to write and process it makes it slow momentarily. Writing is important, just like making art. Soon, I will do both more regularly but for today this is enough. Thanks for stopping by. Until next week, the world needs you and your art!

Fear # 5 and Fear # 6 two of my favorites

Friday, June 27, 2014

Inside to listen


There is a spiritual side to my life that has been missing.

The mysterious, artful way of seeing the world that needs nurturing, protecting and that will fade away if not cared for. It is this part that enables me to be an artist; to operate with childlike wonder and openness to receive the beauty of the dappled light on my table as I write. To see the flash of red from a bird against the green trees. To feel the wind as kisses blowing across my cheek and to hear the perfection of a bass line as it floats in the air from across the room on the stereo.

I must pay attention to these things, these beautiful moments. I must go inside and make time to notice, to feel and relish in them. That is why the armor must come off and the environment carefully chosen and why the computer must be shut down.

These are the moments that make me feel connected to everything that is bigger than me. Food can get you there, booze can get you there, love can get you there too but for me it is the act of turning my back on it all and going inside to listen, see and observe.This creates the space to see and feel deeply. This creates the space to make art and live a life less ordinary.

I have lived so many lives and this is the good one now. It's time to embrace it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The week I learned to breathe again

The week I learned to breathe again
photo © 2014 Megan Chapman
I am finding it hard to come up with eloquent words for "things aren't going too well." I am known for my "dream it, do it" cheer leading and mentoring style of "keep fighting" and "onwards and upwards" etc etc... but I am all out of that currently.

However, even in the worst of times, I will stand by Art. I will stand behind my art and my ability to create relationships around it. I will stand by my ability to encourage others to sell their brilliant work. I will stand by this profession. I will know that art has given me a rich and varied life filled with discovery, self empowerment and understanding. I will know art has given me my mental health as much or more than it has destroyed it.

Studying art at the University of Oregon was the greatest gift I could have ever given myself, it was the true beginning of my independence. Art taught me how to think and see and how to discuss things critically without being cruel. Art taught me how to learn about different viewpoints and styles. Art taught me how to create on a deadline, dream up my own stories and find my tribe of people when I had always felt like an outsider. Art allowed me to put my varied emotions all in one place and into a clear channel of creation.

I have sold a lot art in these nineteen years since my first professional exhibition. I have created a lot as well and luckily I don't have a closet of doom packed with unsold works.  However, I am sure there is a gallery or two that wishes some of my older work would sell so they would have more room in their closets. I am fortunate that I have a dedicated following and community of patrons and fellow artists that respect my work and value me.

Currently, this is not enough to pay the bills. It has been in the past and it will be again in the future but it is a struggle. These past four years have been the biggest struggle of my life but thanks to art I am still here. I am still filled with the belief that things will get better and it is not the time (nor will it ever be) to give up on my art. When you know why you are on the planet it is hard to just walk away.

Sometimes all I can hear in my head is "it's time to end this charade." However, I am not going to stop. I am not going to give in. I am not going to quit. This is not obstinacy on my part, this is faith and drive. This is a call to action.

Luckily, the cheerleader doesn't stay down for long.

Alright, I'll say it. Keep fighting, the world needs you and your art...

I wrote one blog in my mind and typed another. This is because of you. Thank you. x


Donating = Loving


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Soon...

Still working on it.... Back to regularly programming soon, folks.


Adrift
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

Donating = Loving

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A tricky time...

I've been busy figuring out what is next and how to keep living as an artist. It's been a tricky time.


After the fire
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman
Donating = Loving

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Work it : A review of months

Springtime flowers

Hello all!

Sorry for my delay in posting my blog. I have had about six different blog topics swimming around in my head and I couldn't land on just one.

I feel the need for a little gathering of the evidence time for myself. This is purely a selfish exercise and if you read this blog often enough you will know I do this everyone once in awhile. I don't always know if I have been productive enough for my standards unless I read what I have done. The days are shooting past and I am just not sure what happened to them. Such a blur. What have I been doing with my art since January? I must examine the time.

January:

I completed my commission for Royal Blind as part of their first ever Royal Blind Week aiming to raise awareness and vital funds for the services they offer for the blind and partially sighted. My work was also featured on the Royal Blind's website alongside an interview with me as well. I really enjoyed creating the painting and so glad I was able to participate in the exhibition in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In publishing news, I was notified that Pocket full of live wires from my 2010 series, Falling into Sound would be published alongside a poem written by New Hampshire's state poet laureate Alice B. Fogel entitled Full of Life. Ms. Fogel's poem was written in response to my painting and will be published in the journal LETTERS produced by students from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. After receiving that great news, I was contacted again by the editor of the journal and asked if I would be interested in having two of my Ghosts of the past series of works published as well.

I also offered one of my Ghosts of the past paintings as a reproduction to the Creative Action Network in partnership with Obama's Organizing For Action. United for Reform crowdsources artwork for immigration reform, a cause near to my heart.

It was during this time that it was confirmed that the American debut of my Ghosts of the Past Exposed series had been picked up by a gallery. I had a lovely exhibition at the Anne Kittrell Gallery at the University of Arkansas. The exhibition was on display February 17th - March 7th. There was an article about the exhibition in the University's newspaper and on their website as well.

In other creation news, at the end of January I completed a small complicated work that gave me all kinds of wonderful trouble, called I will. This piece was sent to Scotland for an exhibition at Little Ox Gallery in Edinburgh.

February:

I started off the month making fourteen cards from a new series called handmade love. The cards were initially created because of Valentine's Day. I wanted to create the kind of card that I would like to receive or give. They were a joy to make. 

By the middle to late February all the paintings in exhibitions were up and on display, whether it was the Ghosts of the past exhibition at the University of Arkansas or the larger painting in the Royal Blind Exhibition or the small work in the Little Ox gallery exhibition, Here We Are. It was a joy to be participating in two internationally group shows and one local solo exhibition. 

Towards the end of the month I painted four more new works in a continuation of my abstract landscape works on paper inspired by Scotland. I was very pleased with the reception of this popular series.

March:

At the beginning of the month, I found myself wanting to use my studio space more and try to feel comfortable and at home in the space as I have been more or less nomadic ever since the old underground closed. It was good to spend time in my attic studio and get ready to work again on larger works.

It was also at this time that I started planning a series of four, two hour workshops on the business aspect of art. I was hoping to teach this locally but for now I am looking forward to marketing this online as a subscription service in the near future. 

Also during this month, I had an impromptu spring sale of some of my older color works from 2004/5 and one that remained from 2009. I found 4 out of the 5 paintings new homes! It was lovely to connect with folks that were excited to get a larger piece of mine for a great price. I was so pleased. 

Later in March, with the exhibitions now complete there was time for some contemplation about making art, why I do it, my identity as an artist and feasibility of it all. It was a bit of doubtful time. Even with the successes in my career it just felt a bit like it was all slipping away and that perhaps I should give up. But, I didn't. I started painting in my studio again and getting more comfortable up there all the while. First working on a older color piece and then leaving it behind to start a new series.

I also decided to offer a selection of some of my older color works from 2008's Evidence of the Disappearance series as archival reproductions over on Society6.

At the end of the month the Spring 2014 issue of LETTERS was published. I was honored to have my work featured on the cover and three of my paintings within the journal from YALE as well.

April:

I was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Scottish Society of Northwest Arkansas. I gave a talk about my project, my research and my time in Scotland. It was a lovely meeting and really the highlight of the month. I showed my entire Ghosts of the past body of work to the attentive audience and loved the intimate setting of the event. It was a lovely opportunity that I fully enjoyed.

I kept working on my new series in the studio, they were evolving in a way I never really imagined but then at the same time it was perfect. I love it when art becomes serendipitous and teaches me while I create it. This new series is all about this life and the rebuilding process; a process that I know all too well from recent years. 

Then suddenly in mid April I was having amazing conversations about art and was brought back to life. I know that sounds dramatic but it was so good to be back in the thick of it, making the art I needed to make, writing the blogs that needed writing and having these deep conversations and feeling understood and in my element. It had been such a long time since I had felt this way. I produced 8 new paintings that knocked my socks off. These paintings, I believe represent a shift in my thinking, my beliefs, my self esteem and my worth as a woman and as an artist. They are strong at the same time fragile, they are beautiful at the same time raw, they are as much about rebuilding as they are tearing down. I will be good to these works as they have been good to me. 

This month I also started a group on facebook called Women's Work. I wanted a place where women artists could share their art, inspirations, ideas and struggles. A place to celebrate all the art that women create and to learn about new artists and ideas. It's just getting started but so far it seems like a good space. I would like to curate exhibitions out of the group eventually and do more with it as it unfolds. We have to create the change we want to see.

May (early days yet, have a lot of time to do good things)

I have been working in my studio on some more new 12x12" works on panel from the series I revealed last week. I am currently researching potential exhibitions and galleries in which to show these new works. I also recently completed a 9x12" commission on paper. I have a large commission that I am looking forward to starting in the near future. But first I must finish the rest of this series. I would like to paint on larger panels. We will see if it is in the cards. And yes, I do commissions, so if you are in the market please contact me!

4 months (and a touch of May) have come and gone. I have participated in two international group exhibitions, had a solo exhibition, supported two causes near to my heart through my art, was published, enjoyed a public speaking engagement and created thirty-three works this year so far.

I'll be honest, this is a hard gig. I keep going but it keeps getting harder to maintain a life lived in honor of my true calling and my passion. In the past I wondered if I even had a right to live my life in this way. I have come to a conclusion. I do. I have the right to make and create my art, write my truth and sing my songs. It doesn't always pay but I am going to do it. You know this about me.

Donating = Loving







Saturday, April 26, 2014

Come closer and see...

Adrift
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

After the fire
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

Begin again
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

Patch and repair
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

I'll sing my secrets
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

To return
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

In the house you live
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

On the brink
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

Donating = Loving

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Back from the brink

detail. work in progress. 

Deconstructivism. That is my word of the day.

I am back in my studio working on the same paintings that I started a month or so ago. It's only since last week's experiment that I have decided I really like it when the canvas bits aren't so uniform and perfectly glued down. At first, I was trying to cover up the old maps adhered to the panel with bits of raw canvas and begin anew but now I really like the maps peeking out. This morning when I got to the studio, I started painting the previously coffee stained canvas bits white. I then spontaneously pulled one of the glued pieces of canvas off to see what it revealed and then I fell in love with what I saw and I remembered things.

I kept pulling bits off, saving the pieces and then later reconstructing the deconstruction. I just wanted to enjoy the textures, the energy, the colors from underneath and I didn't really care if it looked damaged. I love things that look damaged just like I love it when the greenery overtakes forgotten buildings. This is happening in these works, rebuilding, decay and then tearing it down and putting it back up but with the decay rearranged. These works are not smooth and will not be glossy afterwards. These works are dirty and wrecked but in this wreckage you find beauty. You find little gems and it feels honest. The whole time I was thinking, make the work you want to make. Make the work you want to see. This is my revolution. Tear it apart. It felt wonderful. I don't know when I last felt this, I just can't even remember.

And time did that thing! I put on an album and walked away and suddenly fifteen long songs had played and I couldn't believe it, it was as if I just put the record on. That rarely ever happens anymore. Today it happened. No wonder artists get so depressed, to feel this and then to have it go away! It's like being a magician and someone takes your magic away for a long time and locks it in a box and hides it right under your nose with the key around your neck but you still can't find it. It is horrible.

So what changed? Well, today I saw my future and I hadn't even dared to dream of one in such a long time. I completed a three week meditation course yesterday meaning that today I could either stop or find another. I found another one based on imagining our desires and manifesting those feelings into life. After the meditation I wrote exactly what I envisioned and what it felt like. I hadn't dared to think that way in ages. I had to unlock that box. I had to dare to dream, dare to want, dare to try. 

I hope I get to stay here for a while but I will take what I can get. I was just beginning to wonder why I was doing so much yoga, meditation and self care and I was feeling like I wanted to quit and then today happened. That is why we must never give up. We are setting the stage for today.

Make the work you want to make. Make the work you want to see. This is my revolution. Tear it apart.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One sided conversation: Mysticism in art

of missteps and secrets
12x12" mixed media on panel
© 2014 Megan Chapman

I must tell you that this is an experiment on multiple levels.

It's part of the rebuilding series. One of the ones that I didn't stain brown. I liked the way it peeled away from the face. I am curious about enough. What is enough to make art. Is "art anything we can get away with" really? This is an under painting and perhaps not done but if I give it a name and post it and share it, do people consider it finished? Yes, they do. But do I? I think so. I am experimenting with taste, minimalism and concept. I just like the textures and unbalance but it is void of feeling or is it?

It feels like my art brain has been dormant for so long. I am trying to reawaken it desperately. Yes, I want theory but I realize I must also work. So I have to make it interesting now or perhaps not interesting. I don't know what I am doing or why. So I must start over like a young student with no rules or limits with no needs but to make and enjoy the process. Moving, making and thinking about the process. Not for money but for love and in the process rediscover something more true again. I want to take risks, I want to scream, I want to break the rules. I have been good too long and played my cards too close. 

All of this talk. I never do this anymore. I have to dream and talk shit and revise and reform and think big. They are just paintings... but they are so much more. If they were just paintings I wouldn't miss not doing the work I need to do. I have to go into this place inside that is a bit mystical to make the work I really need to make. This vulnerable, weird place like a character almost. It is me but it is everyone before me and it is that woman's heart over there but it is my heart and it is his voice over there but it is my voice... 

I shut that all out. I shut it all down. I stopped receiving. It is a heady place when you tune in and hear all the stories that need telling, when you can get away with it and give in and do it and not judge or be judged and make them real. It makes my brain tingle and it makes me almost want to cry and it feels a little crazy but I know how it feels in the edges of my brain when I get in that creative space. I miss it so.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Life : A series in action


Hello again! Today, I am writing this outside in the sunshine as the birds sing and the honeysuckle bushes are leafing out all around my house. It is that distinct fresh new green that is piercing against the blue sky. It is Spring.

This week went by in the blink of an eye. Let's see what happened? There was some organizing, deep cleaning, painting and tax preparation. There were also routine things like paying bills, grocery shopping and getting my new health insurance card in the mail! I also saw friends and worked on some new projects.

I am delighted to announce that I am going to be the guest speaker at the April meeting of the Scottish Society of Northwest Arkansas. I will be giving a talk about my project, my research and my time in Scotland. I am very excited about this opportunity. I will be giving the talk in Springdale, Arkansas next Tuesday April 8th at 7pm at AQ Chicken House. The meeting is open to the public for folks that are either of Scottish descent or just admire the Scottish culture. I am looking forward to talking with everyone.

As far as the new series I am working on currently, I am thinking about them and the theory behind the series. So far the series is created on 12x12" panels with raw canvas torn into pieces and glued to the face of the panels, the canvas is stained and painted and they crash together or balance delicately. Things are being built and pieces fall, break and crumble away and then they are rebuilt over and over again, much like life. We are constantly rebuilding and I want to explore this within this body of work. Right now I feel a bit too scattered with preparation for my talk and my upcoming workshops to focus on the series the way I would like but I know I will right myself and refocus again. My life is a good example of my series in action. Rebuilding of attention, relationships, space, interests, needs, finances and of self.

I have also been using this time to do some inner work. A slight springtime tuneup. Eating well, taking my vitamins, exercising, yoga, meditating, writing, letting go of things that no longer serve me. Again, rebuilding. The springtime is a good time for a major rebuild and renewal. It almost seems luxurious to take care of myself in this way. However, I know this is critical to everything else that comes next.

How do you rebuild? How do you know when it has become critical? Will you give yourself permission?

Until next week, you know what to do.

***********
During the month of April I will be donating 10% of all my Etsy sales to the Jane Goodall Institute.