Saturday, May 26, 2012

What I keep learning

 the garden

This week was about working and coming to terms with what working means and how important it is to me as an artist. I have said it in so many forms in the past and I will say it again. When I am not painting I am essentially punishing myself. 

It can happen to all of us. We get busy, we travel, we are displaced from our studios, we get stressed or we get too focused on the promotional side of things and we stop putting in the time required in the studio. We do just enough to keep our street cred but we know inside something is missing. 

 The work is missing. That untouchable moment in time when it is just us alone with the canvas and our tools. The time that rushes by when things are going well and slows to a crawl while waiting for paint to dry is needed. The meditation in motion, the labor of being an artist is required for the soul. 

 I have been back to work in the studio this week creating a new series of combined paintings with artist Stewart Bremner. It is a complex process full of learning again, of one step forward and two steps back. We are dancing again on the canvas just like we did last year. Only time will tell what will emerge. 

Beyond all that, I am reminded how important work is as well as how important it is to let go, to share, and to give into to the process. I am reminded about balance and the importance of it in my studio time and life. This week we took time to plant a small container garden and it felt so good to do something non art related, something necessary and productive. I took time out to listen to the wind. It seems often that when I am painting I am able to fit everything else I want to do around my painting time, but that painting time must come first. I am reminded that the more often I paint, the more productive in other parts of my life I become. 

I am probably just a little giddy this week because I actually started a serious body of work after a bit of a break but I will take it. I hope that it propels me forward and that Stewart and I enjoy the process of creating this body of work while we also enjoy just living this life; not promoting, not organizing, or worrying about finances or travel or how we can maintain this long distance relationship. Life is too short to make it so hard on ourselves. 

Plant some basil, smell it on your hands. Paint today. That sounds like a good recipe for summer. Until next week, keep fighting and catch a few lightning bugs.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Block Street and Beyond!

Hello Dear Readers,

This week has been busy as artist Stewart Bremner and I are getting ready to participate in the Block St. Block party being held on Sunday May 20th from 11am-dark. The organizers are expecting 12,000 people to attend and we hope to see them all at our art booth! I have my latest paper pieces that I created while in Scotland for sale, some framed and some unframed. Stewart will have his abstract works on paper and board, his car series and his greeting cards of animals and scenes of Edinburgh on view. Hope to see the locals on Sunday!

Speaking of upcoming projects, on June 7th from 5-8pm. Stewart Bremner, Jennifer Libby Fay and myself will be hosting a unique art exhibition, called east prospect. East prospect will feature the work of nine artists in an international exhibition. In this exhibition we have created our own exciting venue by showing the work in an artist's house! The permanent collection of the home will be taken down and stored away for the night while we hang the work of Stewart Bremner, myself, Christian Demare, Jennifer Libby Fay, Steven Heaton, Rob Kedward, Craig Munro, Thomas Petillo, and John Spurgeon. This exhibition, will give patrons a sense of how this work would look in their homes as well. These works will not be hung on expansive or austere gallery white walls and there will be no gallery lights. However, there will be world class art throughout the house. We hope many people will attend east prospect. You can learn more about our east prospect exhibition by visiting our site and our facebook event page.

In other news, I just received the panels from Perrodin Supply Co. and I must say I am very impressed with their product and service. I would highly recommend them to the most discerning artist. We will be using these panels for our new paintings that Stewart and I will create for our upcoming exhibition, a place called home. A place called home will be held in July at the Art Center of the Ozarks, with a reception on July 10th. We just got our cards for that exhibition as well. We hope you will join us for our exhibition, we can't wait to share the process and see what my time in Scotland and Stewart's third visit to Arkansas will produce as we create this shared body of work and reflect on what is home.

I think that is it for this week, until next week keep painting, keep fighting and keep making your own opportunities within your own art world. No one has more passion for your art than you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One week later...

St. Bernard's well floor (interior) Edinburgh, Scotland ©2012 Megan Chapman

Dear Readers,

It has been a busy week getting settled back in Arkansas and it went by quickly with visits from friends and fellow artists. Jennifer Libby Fay was still in town visiting from Kansas City, so we tried to make the most of our time together. We spent some time updating and enhancing our social networking prowess. Stewart, Jennifer and I were tweeting, google plussing, facebooking, and blog linking fools for several hours. Also this week, my long awaited fortieth birthday present arrived from the super talented Flannery Grace Horan. It is a ring with a 17.01 ct. Mandarin Spessartite Garnet and Rubellite Garnets and Peridot loose inside to make it rattle. Is also has ocean waves carved on the side, and a secret seahorse carved on the back in the sterling silver. It is a magical piece of jewelry.

This week my Mom who came over to give us some fruit filled fried pies, which were a welcome treat and respite as we took a break from cleaning the kitchen to visit and catch up. My friend and fellow artist William Mayes Flanagan also came over one evening and we talked and enjoyed some Scottish Ale on the deck listening to music and talking politics.

Stewart and I picked up our combined exhibition,  I thought I would find you here, from the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville where it had been on display during March and April and enjoyed a visit with our friend, fellow artist and patron Sharon Simmons. Then later we headed over to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to enjoy the sunny, cool weather, the wild flowers and art. You can read Stewart's review of his experience there by clicking here. It was a lovely day.

We took care of some business and ordered some of our panels for our upcoming July exhibition, A place called home, from a local company Perrodin Supply Co. We are excited to be able to support this local business and of course we are getting excited about starting the process of creating the work. We had another visitor, as friend and fellow artist Linda Sheets paid us a visit, it was so great to talk and catch up and hear of her upcoming projects and be around another artist and like minded individual.

This week, I have been busy unpacking studio boxes that were filled and left behind for four months while I was away. I am making the transition and moving back into my home studio. It is an arduous task filled with a lot of memories, some good and bad. However, it is great to touch my things again and remember how they all fit together and to create a whole new environment for myself and Stewart to paint in again.

Besides all this we have been planning an exciting event for June and making some other plans for various future exhibitions. It is a thrilling time and we have been going non stop since we hit the ground. We have enjoyed some lovely evening walks, enjoyed the farmers market, and seen a goodly amount of art and of course it is wonderful to see and hear from so many of our friends here.

Like I said last week, it is good to be back. Now, I better get back to it!

Until next week, keep fighting...


PS. For all you locals, we are looking forward to seeing you May 20th at the Block St, Block Party!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Way down in Arkansas

Hello Dear Readers,

Sorry for the delay in my blog posting, but with traveling and unpacking and getting settled I am a little late in getting here. I am back in Arkansas after being in Edinburgh, Scotland for four months. We spent all day Thursday traveling. The flights were seemingly easy even with delays and airport stress. We were trying to get back in town for the opening of fellow artist and dear friend Jennifer Libby Fay's exhibition Rubicon at the Art Center of the Ozarks, but sadly we missed it. However, we met up with Jennifer and viewed the exhibition on Friday and it is a beautiful body of work. It was so good to see how Jennifer's work keeps evolving and how she continues pushing her medium. It was also impressive to see all the new work she has managed to create in her new studio in Kansas City. If you are in Northwest Arkansas don't miss Jennifer's exhibition that will be up through May.

As many of you know Stewart Bremner and I will be having our own exhibition, A place called home, at the Art Center of the Ozarks in July. We will be creating all new combined work for our exhibition. We are both looking forward to painting together again. It has been a year since we created the nine paintings that became the Question of Chemistry series that recently were shown as part of our exhibition at Northwest Arkansas Community College this past March and April.

However, before we get to painting and promoting our exhibition in July, we are excited to announce that we will be participating in the Block Street Block Party on May 20th. We will have a booth and selling many small affordable works of original art. We hope that those local to Northwest Arkansas will stop by our booth and say hello. We love being apart of the block street celebration.

We might also be cooking up something exciting for June, but you will have to stay tuned for that as things develop. We have lots of irons in the fire and are both excited to create our work and share it with the community.

As I type this, it is bright and sunny, the trees are fully leafed out and rich green. This is probably not a shock to most in the United States, but I was just wearing a woolly jumper (thick warm sweater) three days ago in Scotland. It was very much winter again when we left to travel here and to be surrounded by such an abundance of sun and greenery is almost overwhelming. The differences of the two cities could not be more obvious in this moment. It has been great seeing my friends that I have missed and soon I hope to see my family. I wasn't sure how I would feel when I returned. I was sad to leave Edinburgh. I loved the cooler weather for the most part, the architecture, the cultural offerings, the small cobbled streets and just that old world charm that is so different from the United States. However, I like the open relaxed feeling here and the slow, heavy air that is its own entity. I like feeling that you can create your own opportunities. I am sure I can create my own opportunities in Edinburgh too, but I just have more experience doing it here and that feels good.

I am so thankful for the last four months and all the people who enjoyed the journey with me and made it possible. If you bought a painting from me in November- May you helped fund my trip and helped to pay my bills in Arkansas and Edinburgh. If you donated to my travel fund, you made it possible that there could be food in my house and that the lights were on when I returned. You helped me have a better trip by releasing some of the monetary stress. You put me in better shoes than the ones I owned so I could walk for hundreds of miles across Scotland and England and explore the cities, galleries, and museums.

Thank you to dear friend and fellow artist William Mayes Flanagan for checking on my house and taking care of things for me while I was gone. Thanks to the lovely, Jennifer Libby Fay for buying a painting so I could get my passport, for loaning me luggage, and for talking me through it all. There are so many people behind me, helping me, supporting me and I am grateful and I love you all.

Tomorrow a plan will be made and the house will get sorted and we will begin getting ready for our upcoming shows and exhibitions and we will drink in all that is Fayetteville and the surrounding area when we are not working. We can't wait to share it all with you.

It's good to be back.