How We Were

My grandma’s favorite flower (or at least one of them) was fuchsias. Every year she would get big hanging baskets of them and hang them on her deck.

Painting this fuchsia painting I’m reminded of going to grandma’s house (the farm). The best place was sitting on her deck listening to the adults tell stories or play guitar.

— Now showing at 200 Main Gallery

Love come rescue

‘Love come rescue’ is an oil painting that I completed recently for a project in collaboration with Mayo Clinic Health System. Expressing the stories of the healthcare workers in our community rang a bell for me. Thinking about what the healthcare workers have been going through — I wanted to do something as an artist to honor their work.

How has the pandemic impacted you? How do you deal with it? I find that art resonates when it expresses things that we can’t express with words.

The Healing Reflections mural wall visited Eau Claire at the Pablo Center one day. I had the good fortune to be able to speak with Dr. Todd Wright who was one of the people that came up with the idea of the mural project. His enthusiasm and compassion were contagious!

Once I read the stories that were sent to me, one stood out because of the way this person expressed their emotion. Their anger and frustration, the isolation and trying to work through the day-to-day in a situation like the pandemic spoke to me.

I tend to get a rush of ideas, and so it started. The final idea is simple and yet speaks to the essence of what they went through. Isolation — of others because of the pandemic / Covid or because of their own anger or because of the work situation — all are represented by the large, thorny branches. We’re isolated.

The dove is usually seen as a sign of peace or love and yet this dove is flying into the face of all these thorns. It’s coming to rescue us. Will it be hurt in the process?

We can see (and BE) compassion for others by our actions. We can, even when we’re separated, express the love for our neighbor through what we do or don’t do. We (like the dove) may be hurt in the process, but that doesn’t reduce the need or the beauty of the effort.

Below is a video they created that talks about the idea of the mural project. Enjoy!

Mayo Mural Project

Bless the Mess!

I can’t tell you how many times I walked into my jewelry studio and immediately felt defeated. Chaos! My studio was a mess, and I couldn’t stand to be there, but every time I tried to clean it, I got stuck.

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How many times have I put off my art to wash the floors (or clean the bathroom). Somehow doing chores was so much more important.

It’s disgusting.

Perhaps other people have little invisible servants who make things tidy, but I don’t. I live in reality, baby!

Lately, though, I have changed up my priorities. Art and my creative endeavors are vital to my living my best life because it’s something that I cherish. Now that I’ve put art higher on my priority list, I have noticed a few things.

Yesterday, I and JP went up to Lower Long Lake, so our son could swim, catch crayfish, etc. I had nothing to do except read and draw. Unfortunately, I didn’t draw anything until we were ready to go…but fortunately, I reminded myself in the process how much I LOVE art. I love to draw, paint, make beautiful things. I sketched some quick coneflowers as we were loading up the truck.

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Second thing that I have learned is to embrace a messy studio.

Serendipity!

I get some of the most beautiful combinations when beads and things just cluster around each other in a haphazard way. This cannot be done in a clean studio!

Plus, it was just getting depressing — here I was attempting to keep the creativity alive, and yet when I walked into my studio, I was immediately confronted with the astronomical chore of cleaning it first!

I would look around, get depressed, lifelessly attempt to make something, and then leave because I wasn’t even happy to be there.

First of all, no. Second of all, no.

Art is God’s gift in my life. When I see art that is beautiful, it does something to me. It’s amazing! Well-designed spaces, paintings, colorful jewelry — LOVE it! Here I was killing the creativity because my studio was messy. I didn’t even have a chance. Once I became aware of that little voice in my head, though, it was over. The voice that said, ‘This studio is too messy to create in,’ or ‘You should clean this up before you start,’ or ‘How can you stand this?’ No, that voice was ruining everything.

I decided to forego the future studio where it looks like a magazine shot every day. Won’t happen. Sorry, ArtNet. At least for now, it will stay in it’s cluttered, magical state of wonder where I wonder where I put those beads from yesterday, but I discover a new color combination that is stunning.

Your creativity, however it happens, is a wonderful thing. With the risk of sounding weird, don’t kill it with your own brain! Don’t stab it with the laundry list or smother it with negative thoughts.

Get out there and ART!