New Studio

Hi all! I finally have my space.  I’m still putting it all together,but I hope to have it almost there by the end of the week.  Can’t wait to welcome you all there.  Look for me at the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, Virginia – Block 6!

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I know, it still looks a little prison-y right now.

Workhouse Arts Center

Last week I had a meeting to pick my spot at the Workhouse and I couldn’t be more excited.  I move in next weekend and can’t wait to get started in this arts community.  It is rather funny that the Workhouse used to be a prison.  That is not lost on me at all.  In fact, the studio I picked has a yellow painted line on the floor that runs through the space.  The yellow line signifies “do not cross”, but I’m hoping to cross it a lot of times– in more ways than one.  I really hope that this space allows me to grow and learn from the community around me.  I don’t want to leave behind all that I’ve learned from being an educator.  I hope that I can actually reach out more because of this new space.  As I explore more, the one thing I would like to attempt is to make my worlds merge.  The art part, the education part, and the part that is me.  More and more in my everyday life all those parts seem to merge anyway.

So excited, hope you’ll come along and visit.

 

New Adventures

I will be returning to America on Friday. I’m so excited to return home to start some new art adventures and opportunities.  I’m looking forward to opening my studio and can’t wait to meet and greet visitors and expand on what it means to be a community artist.

I’ve loved my time in India, and I will be planning a return trip as soon as I land.  If you’d like to catch up on what I’ve learned from my Fulbright experience and how it relates to my art education students go here and you’ll understand the 10 thoughts I’ve had in the last week as my time in Chennai has come to an end.  I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned to begin some new series for my art work.

See you soon!

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The red thread

A while ago I was going through an artistic slump, I had no direction. I felt suffocated in my job as well as my artistic practice.  Lucky for me, I decided to take a class to keep up my teaching certificate.  Who would have thought that this class would have such a direct impact on my life and the way I have created art for the past 4 years.

I met a man named Kurt Godwin.  He was a professor of painting for VCU.  He primarily taught multidisciplinary classes for art educators, but it was clear that he was truly a renaissance man.  The first meeting we had as a class was at his home.  Not many professors invite you to their house without meeting you before hand.  I knew then, that this class would be different for me.

It was exactly what I needed.  I had been going through the motions of making art, but felt stagnant in my pursuits.  Kurt helped me turn that around by talking with me weekly about where I was going, what I was doing. But not in passive or aggressive kind of way.  He wanted to get to know his students…and often he would use humor to get at that relationship.

To push people to think beyond their own ideas, or to help students get “unstuck” he said, he always said,” Why not add a little red?”  What? Most people would give him a strange look, most people would just balk at the idea.  Why red?

One day I was working– and struggling on a painting I actually despised.  I was overworking everything about it, and it seemed hopeless.  Kurt came over and said,” What about a little red line?” I looked at him, thought about it….and from there I just interpreted that red line in a variety of ways.  Was it really about the red?  What was it about this exchange that had a deeply profound effect on the work I was doing?

I think it was because of the way in which he just connected to me.  He wasn’t in charge of my painting, I was.  I could decide what fit, what to let in.  He was just offering a little suggestion of what could be.  Red, a symbolically charged color, coming from a compassionate teacher who wanted to help a struggling artist to see more than she thought of herself.

This weekend is an opening for an exhibit that honors his memory.  If you happen to be in Alexandria, please go!  I won’t be able to make it, because I am still in India.  However, one of my pieces will be there.  It is sure to be an amazing show, with people from all over the area coming to honor a man who helped me see the red thread…the connection between the artist and the work.

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Published

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A few months ago I exhibited in an art show that featured artists from all around the metro area.  The experience I gained by being part of the show was amazing.  In fact, I was approached by a few people to show and exhibit in other places because they had seen my work at Artomatic.

This month my work has been published in a magazine called xyHt.  It’s a survey magazine that is distributed to mostly people in the field of measuring and making maps!   I’m so happy, honored and excited that they’ve decided to feature my work.  I never imagined that my artwork would be so well received by a community that uses such specialized equipment to make and measure our planet. They’re the ones that create all the information that I use to make my own maps.

So if you’d like to take a look, go here.

Also here is the picture from the magazine.  I haven’t seen it in the magazine yet, as I am still in India, but my awesome neighbor received a copy of it and snapped a picture for me.

 

A free weekend = art time

The past few weeks have been extremely busy, coupled with the typical wifi issues.  However, I managed to create some little guys.  I’m really enjoying using the Tamil and Hindi newspapers in my work to represent where I am.  In no other way could I be more present in my art making than using these papers right now.  It just seems so relevant to me.  As I create these new images, I am struck by the real maps I’m engaged with.  There are hundreds of water bodies within the city and outside the city of Chennai.  No wonder this area suffered such tragic loss back in December with the floods.  As I walk around the streets you can still see where there are issues with the road and where certain areas have been hit hard.

The newspapers actually come from my laundry.  Here in India, I send my laundry out, and it comes back to be wrapped in the newspaper.  An extra bonus for me!  If they only knew what becomes of their papers.  It actually is one of the cheapest things you can buy here in India.  Anyone can buy a newspaper.  It costs 1/3 of one penny.

There are a lot of uses for paper you can see on a regular basis:  cleaning, warmth, patching a hole, place mats, and yes wrapping up laundry into nice neat packages.  Like I’ve mentioned in other posts on my other blog, people find uses for items that we tend to throwaway or recycle back at home.  I wonder what they would think of my art making?  It’s certainly not a necessity, or is it?  To me it is.

Art is my familiar place, it’s something I go to when I need to feel a connection to something.  Yes, it’s expressive, but it’s meditative and grounding.  All my work has repetition and layering, and those aspects are very important to me.  I am unwrapping my laundry, but then I’m cutting shapes, filling in space, and creating a new place with my “maps”, maybe, just maybe I’m peeling back the layers of myself to reveal something new.

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Hi from Chennai

Hi Folks I’ve been trying to settle in and make some art while here in Chennai.  It’s been a little difficult.  I’ve moved 3 times, and I’m about to move again (hopefully for the last time).  I wish I could dedicate a space, but where there’s a will there’s a way.  I only brought with me pens and watercolor, so I’ll be trying out some new way of approaching what I like to do.

I also managed to collect some various collage components and hope to include those at a later time. But for now, not so much maps, but space.

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Chennai Two
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Chennai Three
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Chennai One
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Chennai Four

Great News!

I just got word that I will have some of my pieces shown at Palette 22.  It’s a new restaurant that will open up in February of this year in Shirlington, Virginia.  The restaurant is part of an interesting movement to work with local artists to show their work.  Part of this unique experience will be for me to interact with the public and share what I am doing.  I’m really excited about this opportunity when I get back to the States.

Remember, I will be checking back in here with art related postings, but most of my blogging will take place here while I’m in India.

 

Hey, I’m in India

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Although I’ll be checking in with this blog and posting art when I make it, most of my posts will be over here while I’m in India.  Hope you’ll join me as i explore art, yoga and more in South India!

Publishing

Artomatic was a great way for me to get my artwork out there and visible to the public.  This past week I’ve been e-mailing with many people who made contact me through that forum.  It’s been great to hear the feedback and have people share interest in the arts.  It’s great motivation to keep making art, and exploring the different facets of theme I’m working with.

One of the most interesting new developments is a surveyor magazine has taken an interest in my work.  the magazine called xyHt has reached out and have offered to publish my work in their magazine in the spring! I’m so excited about this opportunity and honored that they would like to showcase my “maps” in a magazine that covers map making and data collecting in reality!

So, I better get to work.  Those partially-finished paintings won’t finish themselves!

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