Friday, November 26, 2010

The one where I realize how far I've come.

It's 2 am and after being awake for the last hour in the dark, I finally concede and get up. It is cold in the house, I wrap up in my favorite alizarin crimson Dr Who length scarf. I put the kettle on. There are so many words ricocheting in my head, I visualize them spilling out like marbles and rolling into the corners of the room.

Things are not perfect in my world and I don't want them to be. Things are pretty okay though. I hit repeat on this morning's song. I drink my hot tea, it burns the roof of my mouth. My mind turns to art. So many things have happened with my art that I never would have imagined, but at the same time I can't imagine them not happening either. I have been working on my art for so long now, showing it in galleries for the last fifteen years, since I was twenty three. It came about so organically when a friend saw my work on my apartment wall in Oregon. A painting of a shy demon with big eyes. I smile when thinking back to the painting that was my first entry in a long string of juried exhibitions. School came and went, I was in and out of my element, older than many of the students yet younger than some. I remember feeling so old at twenty seven when I graduated, as if I had missed the boat, but today at thirty eight I feel like I have just been born.

My work has changed and grown, always evolving over the years, not staying stuck in any one place for too long, yet always consistent within each series and new body. As I get older my work is becoming more personal and perhaps even more romantic as I settle into this role of story teller and artist and as I realize this is my true calling, and surely it is too late to turn back now.

When I doubt this, I remind myself that people from all over the world own my work, not just a few people but a lot of people. I remind myself that I have made and sold hundreds of paintings. Hundreds of incarnations out of thin air, hundreds of stories and secret wishes pulled out of the ether and realized in painting form.

My mind drifts as I look down at my glowing computer fingers. I hit repeat on the song once more and smile.

Thank you all so much for your comments last week. I really appreciated every one's suggestions, empathy, and insight. The winner of the paper painting is Lady Wrenna!! Congratulations! Please email me so I know where to send your painting.

Thanks again. Until next week... Keep fighting!

Friday, November 19, 2010

a series designed to break your heart.

This is typical but I feel like I have to warn you or give you a disclaimer. I love art, artists, talking about art, making art, selling art, etc etc.. If you know me at all, you know this is true.

But for this blog, I have to vent a bit. There are a several cool things going on in my art world right now, so I am not complaining and I know I am lucky etc etc..(see, more disclaimers) but right now I just have to express my complete and utter frustration in my lack at being able to paint. I mean, I really can not paint right now. It is like that part of my brain has slipped far away...

This is not the first time this has happened, more like the fifth or sixth... or perhaps this is the eighteenth time. I don't really know and it shouldn't come as a surprise or warrant a blog post but I feel if I don't write about the frustration of it all, I won't move past it. This is typical for me and for a lot of other artists. I just had a show. I worked almost all year on that show. That show is still on display and my studio is feeling a bit lonely- it misses the new white series, the hum of activity, the burst of inspiration and the direction that only a series can bring.

I spent some time looking at my paintings in the gallery the other day and I wanted to cry. I looked at them closely and I wondered if other people looked at them as closely and I wondered what the experience would be like for a stranger to look at them for the first time. Then I felt like I was a stranger. It just didn't feel possible that I could have painted those paintings. I could barely remember the sensation of the brush hitting the canvas, or the flicks of water that beaded up on the oiled surface. I couldn't remember the sound of that water running down the painting onto my paint encrusted easel and the onto the floor and then pooling below staining the concrete. I can tell the story but I can't remember the sensation. I remember jumping up and down in front of my easel. I remember screaming, singing, dancing, crying, writing the flurry of words that would burst into my head as I applied the paint. I would have to quickly scrawl them on my studio wall. Those words became titles and concepts and are woven throughout the white series and became A Manual for Living. I remember shaking and running down the hall to get my studio mate to see something new that I was unsure of. I remember taking snapshots and sharing them with my online studio mates across the ocean. I remember questioning and doubting, and then I remember things being revealed. Suddenly, the path clearly lit for a second and then pushing through to actualize the painting.

I want that all back. I want that back now, I want to get back there! When I stand in front of my easel now, there is nothing. There is no story, no longing, no expression, it feels like repetition, it feels like being born but all my dreams and talent are gone, it feels like a void, a deep absence.

I know I want it too much, and that I am holding on too tight, I can't go back. I know all this. I know this is just the customary post show blues. I know this is fear talking. On my studio wall, more scrawled words, "There is no room for fear in art"- those words emerged while working on one of the last massive pieces in the series.

The other day in an inspired flash, I had an idea for a new series of paintings, it would be called "a series designed to break your heart..."

I think I may have already painted it and I broke my own in the process...

Until next week keep fighting, and I will do the same.
This week.. leave a comment and be entered to win a 9x 12" paper painting. Yes, really. I will draw one random winner and announce the winner next week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The week after...

Tie a Stone to my heart and watch it sink
mixed media on canvas
20x16" Sold

It has been about a week since Falling into Sound opened at the Hive Gallery at the Fayetteville Underground. It has been a quiet time, time for reflection on the work and the reactions the work has been getting. This past Saturday I gave an informal lecture to a group of university students studying with artist Cindy Wiseman. I really enjoyed the experience, they were a wonderful group of students. We talked for a long time in the hive gallery and then we moved on to my studio briefly. It was a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday.

Viewers seem to have been touched by the work, especially a manual for living. The comment book has been a very interesting and sometimes deeply poignant read. People seem to be responding in a very personal way to Manual and several other the pieces in the exhibition. I am honored that my work seems to touch people. I hope more people will come down and experience the complete body of work as it is currently being shown at the Hive gallery. The exhibition will remain up through November 27. Gallery hours are 12-7 W-F and Sat 10-5. I would love to speak to more classes, groups, or interested individuals about my work. Please email if you would like to set up a time to meet and discuss the work in person at the gallery.

My studio is strangely empty, I started working on some small works on paper and I mailed two paintings off to their destinations this week. One headed to the Washington D.C. area and one to Edinburgh, Scotland. I can't wait for my dear patrons to receive their paintings! I sold an earlier work from a different series to another patron in Liverpool, England this week as well- a piece that was shown at the Aaron Gallery Small Works exhibition that was held last year in Washington D.C. I am looking forward to shipping that small work this week as well. So, this week was also about the tidying up of loose ends and working for the Underground. I also attended another local art event, Art Amiss and took some time to reconnect with some old friends. I was also contacted about possibly mentoring a high school student who is currently in an advanced placement art class. I think we will paint together soon. I am looking forward to the experience.

Today, I spent time in the studio knowing that I just wanted to read a book. Sometimes, I just want to spend time in and around my studio, but I know I don't really plan to work. So, I hung around, talked with my studio mates, read books and looked at a few art magazines. On my way home the sky was grey and the trees were on fire and really popped against the sky. I really enjoyed the colors and the cool air. It felt so good to see and really pay attention to the Autumn.

a taste of autumn
snap shot on the way home from the grocery store

Until next week. You know what to do... Keep Fighting!
Update: The painting featured above sold today!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The day after...

We will sink to the bottom of the ocean together
30x24" Mixed Media on Canvas

As most of you know, last night was the opening of Falling into Sound at the Fayetteville Underground in the Hive Gallery. It was an interesting day. I had mixed emotions as I was preparing to attend the opening. If I am honest a wave of sadness washed over me. So, I took a long walk around my favorite park and I lay in the sun supported by the warm grass. I just listened to the voices in my head, the worried self talk, doubt, pride, hope, all those different voices coming at me. Then I spent the rest of my day cleaning my house and listening to music, just going about my regular routine as if nothing in particular was happening later that day. Soon enough it was time to head to the show. I cued up a special Interpol song for the short drive to the studio and I was ready.

The crowds were great, and it was lovely to see so many friends and patrons out enjoying all the exhibitions at the Underground. The sadness I had felt earlier in the day seemed to wash away. I think the sadness was a mix of fear and just the release of giving up this body of work to the world. I have been enveloped by these pieces practically all year. There is a letting go, a realization that the work is now done and that there is nothing left to work on.

I wonder what my work will look like after this exhibition. I wonder how it will feel to paint again after the show. I know there will be a lull and then I will work again. Will it be a continuation? Perhaps, but I think I may ease back into it by painting some smaller quicker works to finally restock my etsy shop. That is my goal for the next month (it has been my goal for awhile now) to get my shop stocked and ready for Christmas, and then to prepare for some holiday small works shows as well.

Right now, I feel like I just need some time off to absorb what I have just accomplished. This was my eighteenth solo show in the fifteen years I have been showing my art. I am very proud of this body of work, this show, and how all the pieces fit together.

It was a wonderful opening night. I hope more people will come during the quieter gallery hours to absorb the works and join me in falling into sound...

Thank you for your friendship and support.

Falling into Sound: Hive Gallery from Megan Chapman on Vimeo.

Falling into Sound
Megan Chapman
Hive Gallery
Nov. 3-27th
Fayetteville Underground
1 East Center
Fayetteville Arkansas
Gallery Hours: W-F 12-7 and Sat 10-5

In other news: I was interviewed by my local National Public Radio station KUAF about the Underground and my exhibition along with another studio mate. Click on the link to listen.