GIVING OLD IDEAS A SECOND CHANCE

before                      +                         after

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before                      +                         after

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Last spring I took on the daunting challenge of cleaning out my closet - and by that I mean my studio closet. Since our move to Nashville, which at the time of this ballsy endeavor had been almost three years, my old paintings had been neatly tucked away inside a closet that I rarely opened. For me, that worked fine. I like spaces that feel clean and clutter-free, and did not have a formal studio set up for properly storing the work. 

Then I started the 100 Things Challenge proposed by Jess Lively where the goal is to gather 100 items in your home to either donate or toss. I absolutely loved this challenge. It helped me think more about why I owned what I owned, or held on to certain things that I never used. Slowly through the process I became less attached. I succeeded in completing the challenge (super liberating) and I knew if I could do that with everything else I owned, surely I could do it with my art. 

Surprisingly, this wasn't as hard for me as I thought it'd be. My mindset had already shifted from practicing the exercise over several days and I think I found myself ready to dig in and assess the work (what purpose did it have for me, and for my audience)? Unfortunately, there were quite a few pieces that did not make the cut. I found zero joy in studying the work, so those went right in to the pile to toss. But there were some that I wasn't quite sure of.  I couldn't gauge their value or importance, but something about them gave me hope. Did the work just not have its chance to fully evolve? Maybe I claimed them as finished pieces far too early in the process. Because I tend to do that - a lot. As artists we are our own worst critics, overanalyzing every brush stoke, overwhelmed with a fear of messing up (I know it can't just be me)! I was left with six or seven pieces that were sitting under a big question mark and, for one reason or another, I wasn't ready to let them go. So I spent more time studying them and I'm allowing myself time to find their purpose. 

I'm now treating these works as if they are merely sketches, looking at them in an entirely different light. Giving back to myself full artistic license, each piece is a jump off point, and I'm changing as little or as much as I like along the way.  I'm less afraid of making mistakes because I am not so wrapped up in making a masterpiece - these will be much more about the journey. Which can be tough. I am a planner, no doubt about it, so just letting things "happen" does not always come natural to me. But I am trying. And it may be time to accept that I have some pretty expensive "sketchbooks".

 

THE LOADING DOCK/FORT HOUSTON

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The Art Crawl in Nashville is always a good time, but it was a little extra special for me this past weekend! I was honored to have a few of my paintings hanging at The Loading Dock - the new brick + mortar for Five String Furniture

Attached to the new Fort Houston headquarters, The Loading Dock will serve as a retail space for the Five String crew to showcase some of its inventory, meet w/ clients, and show support for other local makers + artists by providing them a space to sell and display their work. You can shop for handmade cutting boards, pick up a new house plant, and grab a hot cup of Frothy Monkey coffee all in one place- win, win, and win.

And can I just say how incredible it is to see the turn out for the art crawls here in Nashville? The community really shows up when it comes to supporting the artists + entrepreneurs of the city, and it is so fun to see friends, families, and couples humming around w/ big smiles on their faces, enjoying a night out.

Saturday night was such a blast! It was particularly cool seeing all of the hard work {put in by the Five String team} paying off. They continue to build their brand w/ high quality products and seem to have such a great time doing it. I'm super grateful for being invited into the fam + for all of the love - you guys are the best. 

 

EMOTIONAL IMAGERY

DISCOVERING PAYNE, 2017

DISCOVERING PAYNE, 2017

I am at a strange cross-roads with the new work I am creating. Its evolving in bright, organic directions, which is a good thing. It is coming across as both beautiful + relatable, and those who have seen it in person have responded very well to it. The problem is I am not quite sure how I am responding to it - at least not yet. These new elements are still a bit new, and maybe a little too cheerful in comparison to what I'm used to. I'm extremely attached to (what I describe as) emotional imagery, so I suppose I am waiting for a sign as to how I get these two worlds to collide. 

I have always, always been drawn to emotional art work. In my first Intro to Painting class, our instructor laid out our first assignment in a few simple words - "I want to know what you think, and what you feel". That was it. As a young sculpture major halfway through college, I had never been asked to convey this before, at least not so directly. I wasn't sure how I was going to achieve this, and it was terrifying. 

My first few paintings were just color studies. No images, nothing obtainable. I was mixing colors + blending paints in a beautiful way, but in mostly dark, dreary palettes. It was just what I was drawn to. They were sad + uncomfortable, yet raw + deliberate. I felt they began to tell a story, I just wasn't quite sure where the story was going. It took a few weeks to progress past color studies, but just like that, I was hooked on painting. 

I had always loved the human form, so I began playing with distortion and gesture as a way to push the mood and emotional boundaries of my work. I drew inspiration from artists like Francis Bacon, Heironymus Bosch, and Chaim Soutine, whose works had such complicated mysteries behind them. They were captivating, and I felt a connection. I wanted to challenge myself to make that same connection with my viewers, and hoped I would not be alone in being so drawn to such imagery. 

After years of being fixed in my mission statement and the continuity of my portfolio, I am finally opening up to the idea that it just might be time to expand on my artistic purpose. Its ridiculously uncomfortable but I'm going with my gut on this one. 

I'll also be updating the online shop soon w/ more works, just like the one you see above

 

RAW ARTISTS HOLIDAY RAWK

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I am super jazzed to be participating in the RAW ARTISTS Holiday Rawk at City Winery! Tickets are now on sale and are only $22/ea. This group exhibition features artists in all visual arts and will include live music performances and a fashion show! You can show your support by purchasing a ticket here! Can't attend the event? You can still purchase a ticket in support of my showcase, which I will transfer/donate to students at one of Nashville's local art colleges. 

Look forward to seeing you at City Winery + thank you for being an awesome human and supporting the arts! It means the world to all of us!

 

NEW WORKS / PHOTOS FROM FLORA

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When I first approached the owners of Flora about having an art show at their plant shop, I wasn't sure if they'd be into it. Although the store is quite large, it is always FULL with an amazing inventory + it is actually quite perfect just the way it is. But Kate + Kirby were very enthusiastic about the idea, and were extremely supportive when it came to giving me the opening I had hoped for. 

My goal was to provide a different kind of art show. I envisioned an inviting, casual setting without the usual stark, white walls of most galleries. With paintings displayed throughout the store, some on easels and others propped up on benches and tables among the plants, the work sat in harmony among the leaves and gave the show a very warm + welcoming feel.

The afternoon was everything I could have hoped for. Friends + neighbors popped in to walk through the space, talk with one another, sip some wine and discuss my new works with me. I loved getting everyone's feedback - its always interesting to hear the different versions of what people are seeing + learn about their interpretations. This feedback is critical, especially now as I begin to incorporate new elements into my work and try to take my paintings to a higher level. 

Big thanks again to the ladies at Flora - I cannot wait to collaborate with them again! xo

 

ASHEVILLE RIVER ARTS DISTRICT

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If the goal was to eat, drink + explore our way through Downtown Asheville in three days, well, mission accomplished. I had heard such wonderful things about this small city and, I am happy to report, they all held true. Known for its beautiful scenery, incredible beer, a strong + supportive arts community (which equals open-minded people), and a low key mentality that is contagious after spending just a few hours here, Asheville is the kind of place that makes you want to c h i l l

I felt right at home as we walked through the River Arts District. Full of studios where artists work year-round, visitors are encouraged to poke around to see what the creatives are up to in an open, yet personal setting. Its inspiring to walk through other art spaces and see how people operate - some studios are clean, organized, and the process is more evident. Others are messy, even chaotic, and the method behind the madness remains a bit of a mystery. Whatever the process may be, these artists are at it day in and day out, and the results are there for all visitors to enjoy. 

To sum it up, I would say Asheville is all about living the good life. Similar to Nashville, folks here seem to be happy - truly happy, and everyone is off on their own pursuit to make the best of each day. People are friendly, courteous, and everyone, it seems, has a dog (max happiness achieved).

This was one of my favorite trips to date and I am already looking forward to round 2!

 

LEMON LAINE / INSPIRATION 7

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As I focus more on my art + making time for myself, I have come across new things to get excited about. One of which is a small business right here in East Nashville - the all natural beauty store, Lemon Laine

This year I have been making the slow transition to all natural products. I'm excited that oil paints are now safer for artists, and that my cleaning products are still effective + smell amazing, minus the harmful toxins. But when it came to beauty products, I was kind of aloof. I had been buying the same brand of mascara since high school + thought by having sunscreen in my foundation, I was checking all of the right boxes when it came to skin care. But there is so much more to it than that. And, as I get older, I'm paying much closer attention to what I put on my skin - especially the every day stuff!

So, Lemon Laine. Believe me when I tell you that it is heaven to walk through its doors. Every corner has been considered in the style, design, color + execution of this shop. Similar to how I felt the first time I walked into a Whole Foods... I wasn't sure why, but it just felt good to be there. Lemon Laine was the same way. It is clean, pretty, organized. And because this is all new to me, it is an educational experience as well. I like to know that there are powders out there that you can add to your smoothies to help w/ brain function. I love knowing that makeup I put near my eyes is 100% safe. And (more than anything) I love that the owner of LL is a sweet, kind, knowledgable, hard working young lady who has brought her ideas to fruition by staying true to what she is most passionate about in life. Inspiration firing on all cylinders here.

The photos from this post were from a demonstration at the store for a new product launch.  Attendees were greeted with a glass of rosé and small bites provided by Cafe Roze. Couldn't think of a better way to kick off a weekend. 

Hope everyone gets some me time this weekend - treat yo'self!

 

ART SHOW AT FLORA

In a few weeks, I'll be showing new works at Flora, one of my favorite local businesses in Nashville. Really excited to be sharing my art with the folks in this amazing city.

Over the last few months, I have made a conscious effort to approach painting as a career, not as a hobby, and dedicate larger parts of each week to creating. Its been a deliberate mental shift, and not an easy task, to treat my art more as a profession while still allowing for that freedom + flexibility that makes painting so enjoyable. 

Its been pretty awesome working through this new series. These paintings are a bit of an experiment + I'm slowly seeing small changes as I loosen up and consider different ideas + subject matter. Its a tricky thing to make way for those changes, after years of associating certain emotions to my work, and working towards a specific style that gives harmony + recognition to a portfolio. But after fighting to keep a pretty strict pattern to my approach, I am ready to sort of let the work have a mind of its own. I'm listening to what feels right - whether it be grabbing for a brighter color or drawing inspiration from pretty things around me. My goal is to create works that convey both relatable + uncomfortable emotions, but to do so in the most beautiful way possible.

 

THE DURHAM HOTEL / NC

I love traveling to + exploring new areas - especially when that travel involves a place like The Durham Hotel (Durham, NC). The moment we pulled up to unload our bags, it was obvious that booking this particular hotel was a smart move. Its striking exterior has a sleek, impressive design and the interiors are fully decked out in mid-century modern decor. When we got to our room, we found thick, hooded robes and white slippers waiting for us (sooo cozy), along with a tray full of local snacks and chocolates. After a full day of eating, sipping and checking out some local shops downtown, we returned to our room to find the lights on low, chocolates on our pillows and classical music softly playing from the ihome sitting on the nightstand.  So many fun little touches, which made this a really hard place to leave! With a super clean room, relaxing stay, and such a friendIy, accommodating staff - we just can't wait to go back.

 

ARTFUL INSPIRATION

PARIMA CREATIVE STUDIO

PARIMA CREATIVE STUDIO

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OMAR OBAID

OMAR OBAID

LUXO

LUXO

It was a gray, rainy morning, feeling far more like a Monday than a Friday, but I was determined to make the most of it. I needed to flip the switch + put a positive spin on the start of my weekend, so I settled in w/ some coffee + pulled some dreamy images of cool spaces that allow art to dominate a room. I plan to spend the majority of my weekend in the studio and love having resources like these to help push my techniques in new directions. I'm close to finishing two oil paintings - both 4 ft tall x 2 ft wide (hooray) and I'm anxious to get back to exploring w/ the acrylics I picked up for some smaller works. If things go well, I may be able to reach my goal of finishing five paintings in the month of July - wish me luck!