Friday, May 31, 2013

Two steps back...

I'll be honest, this week hasn't been easy. I have been filled with resistance towards going to my studio, starting new work, refocusing my energy and just getting to work. I know this is part of the process and I am no stranger to this behavior in myself but at the same time it is a bit frustrating. I am trying not to judge myself too harshly. I did spend all day there on Tuesday so that was a small victory.

It feels like things are speeding up all of the sudden. Tomorrow will be the first of June already. I have already been here two and a half months! I have so much I want to do and see. I want do it all but as I realize the time constraints, I stall. The pressure of a deadline is a good thing, it helped me create the first ten pieces in the series sooner than I probably would have, but also knowing that on September 12th I will be returning to Arkansas makes me freeze in my tracks. I remember thinking 6 months seemed like such a long time to just pick up and leave my life, my house, my things, my cat.

This time here is such a gift. I get to try on a city for a while, try on new habits, new friendships, basically a new life. I don't have a phone, a car or a clothes dryer. I have about a drawers worth of clothes and few possessions to call my own and I like this. I have been given permission to live this life for 6 months, make art and tell the world about my experience. It is such a rare treat. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by what a gift this is and so unbelievably happy that this is currently my life. Sometimes, I am just sad to know that it will end in September. This is a one off experience and because of this it is so important for me to stay in the now and enjoy each moment.

Everything has been up in the air for so long. Living outside of my comfort zone is essential but sometimes it is just unnerving in vague way.

Next week, I will begin again. I will have my supplies that I need and I will get back to work. Until then, I will sketch out an outline of what I still want from my time here. The basics I know: I will make more art, I will show more art, I will walk, I will do yoga, I will research and I will see art and visit new places. I will visit with friends and hang out in pubs. I will write and take photographs. I have plenty of time to do everything I want to do and it is okay if some days don't go according to plan. All of this is just a reminder that life is messy...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fill the well

This week I have just been basking in last week's success as well as recovering from all the work that went into it. This week has been about returning to normalcy. I returned to my two yoga classes. I walked a few places and I caught up with friends and family on the computer space phone. I washed the dishes, dealt with laundry, bought some things I needed and bought groceries. I also looked for inspiration because soon I will be returning to the studio to begin again.

After an intense period of creating it is important to refill the well. The ways I like to do this are as follows:

1. Yoga.
2. Write and listen to music
3. Take photos
4. Look at other people's art.
5. Sleep
6. Take note of the good things and count them up. Look for evidence of the good works in your life.
7. Enjoy the bright green of spring, the sun and it's shadows and the flowers that float like snow through the air.

This week I am inspired by these sites:

a great self help book for people like you
beautiful images, articles, creative manifestos, and yoga!?!?
and who doesn't love cameras
and who doesn't love typewriters

And that is all I have for you this week. Until next week, keep fighting.

And know that I am so very thankful for you.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cross Street Arts steals my heart.

Dear Readers,

Sorry for my delay, I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to check in last Friday. I think we have a few things to catch up on and they are all exciting! This past week, all my new work was completed, varnished, given words and titles and then documented and packed up for the train journey to England. It was such a thrill to finish up the works and remove the tape around the edges of the paper and see them come alive. I couldn't be more pleased.

The journey by train was so beautiful and transporting the art was easily managed, my paper works in an old black zippered portfolio of Stewart's. His work was packed in one box and in a bag and it all fit into the luggage rack in the train not far from our seats.

If I could take a train to every exhibition I needed to attend, I would. I just loved watching the world go by, the sheep, the fields, the hills, the villages; all so very lovely and then before we knew it we arrived at our destination.

The director and curator of Cross Street Arts, Steven Heaton, picked us up at the station in his vintage, green Morris Minor. As luck would have it, we fit in his lovely car with all the work and our luggage and made the short drive to the Cross Street Arts studios and gallery in Standish. It was a beautiful drive as spring came to this part of England perhaps a little sooner than Edinburgh. The sun was shining, the flowers and trees were in full bloom and everything looked inviting.

We spent the rest of Thursday getting to know the gallery space, unveiling the art and getting things installed. We also met with a local press photographer for short interviews and lots of photos of us and our work. It was great to be back at Ok Studios/Cross Street Arts. We visited briefly last spring when I was over here as well and it was great to see several familiar artists and to meet new ones. Everyone was helpful and friendly, making us feel right at home and very much welcomed. It is a lovely setting for a gallery and studio space. It is infectious to be in such a creative space, walking through the open plan studio complex and seeing snippets of every one's work and getting that sense of community was very inspiring. I hope now that the fever of getting this body of work prepared and delivered for the exhibition is over that I will have time to meet some of my studio mates here in Edinburgh over at The Arts Complex.

The Cross Street Arts gallery is a lovely light filled space and fit both mine and Stewart's work perfectly. Thanks to prior planning over the Internet (Skype is a great thing!) everything went smoothly. I am pleased to report that Cross Street Arts is now a supporter and sponsor of my project "Ghosts of the Past Exposed." As soon as Cross Street Arts knew I had secured funding to return overseas, Director Steven Heaton asked if I would like to debut this new work in their gallery. Not only did they generously provide the space and the invitation to debut these works but they also covered all installation expenses and promotional costs of the exhibition. Many commercial galleries would do at least some of this, but Cross Street Arts is a non profit studio and gallery and they used money from their tight budget to help bring my project to light and to reach a larger audience and for that I will be forever grateful. It takes a lot to make these things happen, a lot of communication and working together and it was a true joy from start to finish (and it is not even done, the exhibition will remain on show at the gallery through June 14th).

The crowd on opening night was phenomenal, with an easy and gentle start to a sudden packed house. The folks in attendance were lovely, making sure to come up and introduce themselves and talk to us about our works. We had the old and young, a collection of artists, hipsters and even some movers and shakers from the Manchester and surrounding art worlds. Everyone seemed interested in the work and in us and we had great and involved conversations. It felt so perfect and I think I smiled all night long. Everyone was so genuine and so appreciative of the work and of us being there in their town. I honestly don't think the opening could have gone any better or been more enjoyable. It reminded me again of how lucky I am to be in this business and how it is the stories and interactions that always make it worth it. The art is hugely important and without it we wouldn't have any of this but it is the relationships and the exchange of ideas and the experiences that art brings me that fills my heart and keeps me going.

Thank you Steven Heaton and everyone at Cross Street Arts for providing this opportunity for us and for the community you serve through the arts. These are the things that make life bright and beautiful and make places like Standish special gems. Thanks to everyone who came to the opening and made Stewart and I feel so warmly welcomed, I will remember your faces and smiles for years to come.

Support the arts in Standish and the mission of Cross Street Arts. Go to their exhibitions, let the artists know that they are doing a great job and be a part of this vital community. I know there is space for you in the inclusive and impressive art world that they are creating. Like them on Facebook, Twitter and visit their website and even better, go visit them in their studios and at the gallery.

And of course please visit our exhibition:

Through time and distance
Megan Chapman
Stewart Bremner
17 May- 14 June
Thursday- Saturday 12-4pm
and by appointment

Friday, May 10, 2013

Painting! Exhibitions!


After taking a few days off, this week has been dedicated to finishing my move in at the studio and then rapidly turning towards working in the space. I have gone to the studio for the past six days and am feeling more comfortable in the building, using the kitchen and marching up the 5 flights of stairs up to my studio. I haven't yet been brave enough to check out the 5th floor common area during a break but I have plenty of time when I am not painting on a strict deadline to check it out.

Things have been a bit fevered as I finish up a ten piece body of work for "Through time and distance"  opening a week from today in Manchester, England at Cross Street ArtsStewart and I are very excited about the exhibition and are pleased that we are able to be present at the reception and that we are giving an art talk the Saturday after the opening. I am looking forward to being on a train again! Here is the poster for our exhibition. If you are in and around greater Manchester area next weekend come and say hello. We would love to see you and share our work!

Closer to my Arkansas home is an exciting exhibition opening tomorrow night at Boswell-Mourot Fine Art. Stewart and I will also have our works in this group show. If you are in and around Little Rock, Arkansas tomorrow night please make plans to attend. I would be there if I wasn't over here! In case you missed it last week, here is the poster for that exhibition.

So, that is what is going on. I am painting and staring out the window at the view when I am taking breaks. Other than that, I have been walking a lot and going to my yoga classes twice a week.

Next week's post might be late (since I will be in England and it might all be a bit frantic) but I will check back in here as soon as possible (say Saturday or Sunday- if I don't post on Friday).

Thank you all for reading, supporting, encouraging and inspiring me. Everything you have given to me helps me to be braver, stronger, and work harder. 

Until next week, keep fighting. 


PS. Everyday we paint is a victory- it truly is. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

good and sad

My new studio, full of possibility

Dear Readers,

What a week. With great sadness I feel I must note that my dear sister in law Julie Leff passed away on Thursday morning after almost a year of dealing with bile duct cancer. This is my art blog and I know many of you didn't know Julie but as this journal reflects my life as well as my art in many ways I needed to mention it here. Julie has been part of my family since my early teen years, 27 some years and was a big part of my life. I am thinking of her constantly and of my brother Ben and their brilliant daughters, Emily and Elena. Julie supported my art and my project to come to Scotland. She was always curious and interested in what I was doing and celebrated many milestones in my life and art. I know she was happy and excited for me and my adventure in Scotland. I love you Julie. You will be so dearly missed.

I know Julie would be very excited about my next news and that is that this week, the day before she died I got the keys to my studio #5.23 at the arts complex. This was always a major goal and component of my project and without her support and encouragement it would not have happened.

Postcard for Through time and distance at Cross Street Arts in Greater Manchester, England
I am looking forward to finishing up my current body of work for the upcoming "Through time and distance" exhibition that opens May 17th at Cross Street Arts in England. The studio will be an ideal place to focus on my work with out distractions.

While I am painting in preparation for the show in England, there are also exciting things happening in Arkansas. Stewart Bremner and my work will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at Boswell- Mourot Fine Art in Little Rock Arkansas. If you are in Arkansas please make plans to attend the exhibition.

Post card for the upcoming exhibition at Boswell-Mourot Fine Art, Little Rock, Arkansas

Life is so strange, so messy, so wonderful, so sad and so tragic. However, good things keep on happening as well as the sad things and we keep on moving forward and living the best we can. I am grateful for all the gifts I have been given, the lessons I have learned and the inspiration that I find. Thank you for being part of it and letting me share it all with you. 

Until next week, you know what to do. Live this mostly beautiful life to the fullest and make a difference on this planet just like Julie did.