One of the most challenging things for me about being an artist is that about half of the time I must be a businessperson. I must find collectors for my work, if for nothing else than I need to buy more paper. But in truth, I also need to find homes for my work because that conversation — between me and collector — is crucial.
A butte in Golden, Colorado looms over the quiet college town.
Some may be lucky enough to have a gallery that just handles all of the business side of creating art, but I am always seeking new ways to market my work to the world. So last week I took a break from my usual studio routine to attend Art Biz Breakthrough, a conference in Golden, Colorado produced by artist coach, Alyson Stanfield. I have worked personally with Alyson in 2015 and will again in 2016, but the event still gave me lots of great things to think about. (more…)
July was walk-about month for me and my family. I look forward to these trips because they are a time to look at new things, have different experiences, and generally refresh my artistic brain. We decided to go to two very different European cities — mostly because they offered activities that would please both forty-something parents and newly-minted young adults.
Our time in Amsterdam yielded two museum experiences that I enjoyed. A Matisse paper cut-out exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum felt so familiar, as I remembered the reproduction that hung on my bedroom wall throughout my adolescence. I admired Matisse’s use of white space. An early morning visit to the Van Gogh Museum took us through the artist’s development from dark and realistic, to brighter colors and abstracted perspectives. I could clearly see the influence of Japanese woodblock printing during one period of his painting, where shapes were darkly outlined, as if in an homage to a key block.
Lovely to see… but not earthshaking. We then traveled by train to Berlin. In a past life, I studied political science, took Russian, and learned a great deal about Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Our AirBnB 1901 apartment was in Prenzlauer Berg — an area that was part of East Berlin. I imagined the people living in this apartment — with its soaring ceilings and thick walls — during the second World War and the time of the Stazi.
Our first real site in Berlin was an evening trip up the dome of the Reichstag. The former dome burned in 1933 and provided the impetus for the Nazi party to seize political power. The current glass dome was not completed until 1999, nine years after German reunification. Access to the site is free, but requires advanced tickets procured with your official documents. Inside it is quiet as people gradually ascend up to the top, where you can lean back on a circular wooden bench and watch the clouds go by. In a country that has known such conflict and pain, the dome provides a sense of peace and a hope for clear-eyed action in the future.
A view of the ascending and descending ramps in the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany.
I don’t know how Thomas Edison did it. Popular lore claims that he discovered 1000 ways to not create a light bulb before he achieved illumination. I’ve been experimenting with encaustic printmaking this fall, and while I have learned a great deal…let’s just say that I have not achieved my light bulb.
I received some nice news this week that one of my favorite prints, Breath Intertwined (a close-up view of two red bud leaves)was accepted as part of the 2015 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition. This print went to Boston last fall, and is currently at the 57th Mid-States Art Exhibition in Evansville, IN. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this print, and this encouraged me to do another up-close leaf print.
I haven’t posted new prints for a while, because I have been working on four at once. I am scheduled to have a show in the main gallery of the IVY Tech John Waldron Arts Center in December. After a recent visit I realized that there is a great deal of wall space! The more layers of ink that I use on each print, the longer that print takes to dry. So I’m alternating between four.
While this is very productive, I’m not finding this process has the same level of experimentation that I enjoy. So I’ve been looking for other areas of inspiration — and I’ve found them.
After my crush of spring and summer art shows, I was very grateful to have some time away from my home, studio and art tent. We are lucky to have family in western Montana and like to visit them during the two months of “high season” in July and August.
Rather than flying, my family loads our trusty van and treks west across some tremendously beautiful topography. My favorite area has always been North Dakota, where undulating yellow-green fields of rapeseed surround glacial lakes of amazingly dark blue water. Somehow driving gives me a different sense of the land than flying over it.