2017 in Review: The Year of Yes

2017 was a very good year in my corner of the universe, and marked five years since I risked leaving my day job to pursue art full-time. I will be honest and say that it has, no doubt, been a struggle at times. But, what I’ve learned and continue to be reminded of is my resourcefulness. A lot of what I need is already in place, and I just have to continue applying myself and have faith. As I reflect back on 2017, it was a year of many accomplishments, and for fortifying the groundwork and momentum for good things manifesting in 2018.

 Me and my girl Cleo, who will turn 12 in 2018! She has spent her entire life with me in the studio and seen me through it all.  Photo by Rebekah Johnson Photography

Me and my girl Cleo, who will turn 12 in 2018! She has spent her entire life with me in the studio and seen me through it all. Photo by Rebekah Johnson Photography


The Year of Yes

Even with its many challenges, 2017 was my year of saying yes. Yes to three solo exhibitions; yes to invitations to group shows in my community — at the Collins Gallery at Central Library, and Ford Gallery—  yes to interviews; yes to a print dealer in Palm Springs; yes to teaching in Mexico; yes to opening my studio to the public for two weekends in October for the Portland Open Studios tour;  and finally, yes to the PDX-CSA art buy in program. It was a big year! 

Here is a slideshow that revisits some of those moments, including group shows and my solo exhibit Climate Charts at Butters Gallery. The extraordinary highlight was my solo exhibit, Amalgamation, at Gremillion Fine Art in Houston. My parents, sister and family joined me there for a very special Mother's Day weekend. Enjoy!


The Power of Affirmations

 My career in postcards on my studio desk serves as a reminder.

My career in postcards on my studio desk serves as a reminder.

Being an artist is hard work and, as I've been told repeatedly, a brave and courageous choice to make in life. One has to be not only talented, but very good at hussling and wearing many hats - artist, business manager, marketeer, networker, scheduler, entrepeuneur, web designer, public relations and social media manager, promoter, teacher, inventory and purchasing manager, videographer, photographer, bookkeeper, SEO guru, writer, editor..the list goes on. Since as far back as high school, every time that I have sold a painting, won a scholarship or a grant or have been offered a new opportunity, each one of those tiny steps have continually reaffirmed my choice and belief in my path as an artist. 

So, what is my secret? Frankly, I don’t really have any secrets! I, like most artists out there, am just trying to figure out how to navigate and stay in cadance with our rapidly changing world. The key for me has been fairly simple: to surround myself with like-minded individuals and be true to myself and my vision. These are the two things that I have carried with me for decades and have become vital to my sustenanace as a creative person in this world. I have always believed that if you work hard enough at something, and that you have a true passion for that thing, it will happen. That may sound a little earnest and naive but it’s gotten me to a point where I am actually making a living as an artist. I am often asked where I get my discipline and it’s by following these affirmations along with meditation, yoga and regular exercise. 

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"Surround yourself with like minded individuals"

What does THAT mean? Let’s take a second to deconstruct that.

  • Surround Yourself - Gravitate towards and find positive peers and loved ones who believe in you. Eliminate the negative energy of others, including yourself, that gets in the way of your vision. This has come to me in various forms of projection; jealousy, insecurity, being unsupportive, discouraging or competitive. I, at times get in my own way with self doubt and have a hard enough time eliminating those inner scripts I tell myself, let alone tolerate it for one second coming from others. So, the surround yourself part of this affirmation?...kind of important.
     
  • Like minded individuals. Find artist colleagues and friends near or far who are pursuing nearly or close to exactly what you are pursuing to partner with. This is often called a referee or, in business is referred to as “an accountability partner”. Having a colleague to mastermind with, bounce ideas off of and share resources and progress essentially keeps you on track and makes you accountable for your career goals.  I have great artist friends that are living the same life on the other side of the country and we stay in touch, sometimes having “Marketing Mastermind Mondays”. In 2018, I plan to commit to these Monday’s more consistently towards reaching my goals.

Jersey Girl in New York

 From inside Ai Wei Wei's  Good Fences Make Good Neighbors  piece in the Washington Square Park Arch.

From inside Ai Wei Wei's Good Fences Make Good Neighbors piece in the Washington Square Park Arch.

To close 2017 on an epic note, I visited New York for ten glorious days over Thanksgiving for much needed art nourishment. It was so nice to be on home turf with my boyfriend Joe and get to see my artist friends, my best friend and her family and so much art!

I saw the Michelangelo show and the David Hockney Retrospective at the Met; Louise Bourgeois, Steven Shore and Max Ernst at MoMa; Laura Owens at the Whitney; walked along The High Line's Hudson Yards project and went to the Chelsea Galleries for Lee Krasner's Umber Paintings at Paul Kasmin. Also, Ai Wei Wei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors installations were all over town; and there was a super interesting show about scaffolding at the Center for Architecture. Finally got to the new Renzo Piano addition at the Morgan Library which featured a Charles Dickens exhibit of original manuscripts.

The Max Ernst and Bourgeois shows had a huge impact on me. Ernst's work is so diverse in materials and subject matter and I nearly fell over when I rounded a corner to behold Louise's etchings.

I had the special treat of visiting my friend Lisa Pressman's studio for a sleep over after taking the drive to Hudson, New York to see our friend and colleague Pamela Blum's show at John Davis Gallery. Here's a little slide show of my trip.


2018: Coming to Fruition

I took a few webinars for artists through some of the resources I shared at the end of this post about getting organized. A collector visiting the studio suggested I put a big piece of paper on the wall and write it all down. This was a good exercise, and I do feel like 2018 is going to be a year of bringing things more into fruition. l'm excited to see just how much of it happens! 

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Onward into the New Year

Currently, I have been having some fun working on a few oil paintings on paper and making prints. Seeing all that art in New York inspired me to do some works on paper. Over this holiday season, I have been experimenting and integrating my painting with my collagraph printing plates on my etching press. It has been very freeing to just play.

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Habits to carry and improve upon into 2018

 My Indian Teak alter that I found in the back corner of an antique shop fifteen years ago. It's hardware is brass lotus flowers and it's filled with many of my favorite things; books, memories of those who have passed, Runes & Tarot Cards.

My Indian Teak alter that I found in the back corner of an antique shop fifteen years ago. It's hardware is brass lotus flowers and it's filled with many of my favorite things; books, memories of those who have passed, Runes & Tarot Cards.

I grew this year through my yoga, meditation and studio practices. I learned to have more compassion for myself and for others. Three years ago, I committed to rising at 6 a.m., hydrating, meditating and practicing yoga before having coffee! I've kept this ritual going, and it has become part of my creative process; allowing new ideas to emerge for the work. Yoga cures my back and neck pain, and deepens my mind-body awareness. I use the Insight Timer app for guided mindful meditation, which has been great, especially when traveling. I’m also a big fan of Jon Kabot Zinn. .

One area where I could improve is to remove social media from my morning routine by leaving my phone off and in another room when I go to bed at night. I'm determined to break my bad habit of social media before early morning meditation.

 

 

 


Off to Guanajuato Mexico!

The year begins with my teaching in Guanajuato, Mexico, I leave this Thursday, January 4! I am busy preparing my art supply suitcase for customs. It can be tricky traveling with wax and ink, so, at the suggestion of my student, I made some signage and started packing away! Guanajuato is a beautiful old Spanish Colonial hill town in the Central part of Mexico, 4.5 hours North of Mexico City and I'm looking forward to warmth and change of scenery.

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Current & Upcoming

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My work is currently featured in the January group show at Butters Gallery in Portland. Over the course of the year I plan to write grants and apply for residencies in Alaska and Iceland. I also will be researching and reaching out to scientific organizations, corporations, educational institutions and museums that would be interested in sponsoring or showing my climate change related work. 

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My prints will be featured in the Portland Fine Print Fair at Portland Art Museum January 26 - 28. Be sure and visit the Warnock Fine Arts Booth. 

Part of my trip to New York included visiting Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Program and as a result, I am honored to be teaching there September 22 & 23! More details about that are coming soon.

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Come Spring, I am teaching at
The Fountainhead Art Center in Roswell, GA .


Resources of Support 

I want to share a few more resources that I’ve learned about, and will carry into 2018. I’ve found two podcasts for artists to be very helpful resources: ArtNext Level and The Abundant Artist. I also subscribe to ArtBiz Coach, Alyson Stanfield's emails.

In addition, I’m taking a Patrons and Sponsors class with Brainard Carey through the PRAXIS Center for Aesthetic Studies. You can invest as little or as much as you want in these resources.


 

 

Thank you for reading my blog! I wish you all the best in 2018! Go after your biggest dreams, ditch the negative and don't let anyone hold you back!
xo, 

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