In 2008 I found myself unemployed and was a bit overwhelmed with my life. So I moved back home.
Finances aside, I think the worst part for me in those days was all the free time I had that made me feel like I lacked purpose. I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently. I am a massage therapist and the place that I work at has closed and I am not seeing any private clients due to the corona virus. Similar to 2008 I have moved back in with my parents.
Thankfully, a lot has changed since 2008. Back then I was frustrated with trying to find a job and I thought my degree in art and art history was worthless. So I went on a lot of walks until I got a part time job and I got my dog. Now I’m lucky in that my love for art has renewed itself and I appreciate the people in my life much more. Life is fuller. I have learned that it is worth loving things, full heartedly. Additionally, I have a better sense of how to structure my time. Making art is a big part of that.
I’m not talking about making all amazing artworks. I’m talking about art making. Right now I’m playing with watercolor which I am no expert at. I’m also trying to challenge myself by working more from my head. So I’m giving myself tasks that are a little more difficult for me, mixed in with easier things, to keep me occupied. Additionally, there’s taking walks with my dog even though he hobbles now and can’t go as far. And there are tons of online exercise classes. Over the past week there have been times I feel useless. It’s bound to happen with what’s going on. However during those times I try to remember the people in my life. It’s heartening to see how people are dealing with the pandemic and working to make the best of the situation and I think we can all strive for that.
I learned a lot between 2008 and now about structuring my time. Now will put it to the test. I know there are other people that struggle with these things. At this time, seeing my colleagues struggle and the country struggle I think it’s important that we find things we love and hold onto them. Work that we love and people we love. Love of life. I hope that we each find something. I am going to try and keep working on my art.
I stopped by Strathmore to see what art show they had up a few weeks ago. Interestingly the exhibit was about home, which I have been thinking a lot about. There were so many artists represented and they all had different interpretations of the theme. There were all sorts of different art media and techniques: sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, abstract, representational, conceptual. It just showed how different everyone’s experience of home is.
Some topics involved with home were immigration, natural disaster, the suburbs, family, and familiar things like coffee. It was clear that there was a divide between artists. Some seemed more anxious about home while others gave the impression of it being a happy place. I think the idea of home can be complicated. There are so many things that happen when you’re growing up both inside and outside your control. I was happy to see such a diverse representation of the subject.
Moving clockwise from the top left image work is titled and made by: Sea Rise by George Lorio, Old Fashioned Letter by Stefanie Stark, Marla; At Home in America by Lulu Delacre, My Heart by Kimberley Bursic, Ritual by Kelly Bell, Bird Polyptic: Thrush, Mockingbird, Nuthatch, Wren by Liz Aukamp LaGarde, Trapped Inside This House by Emily Shepardson.
I went through my parent’s photo collection and painted a number of family portraits, the two below being the last ones. I was drawn to the light in the images and the expressions. I like that people were relaxed. Looking through family photos allowed me to see interesting moments and a lot of moments that I did not remember or had not experienced.
I think I’m at the end of my portrait spree for now and the use of my parent’s photo collection. I will have to see where inspiration takes me next.
“In Shadow” 2020
“Happy Moment” 2019
One of the great things about where I’m living is how close it is to DC and DC’s museums. I’ve been making a habit of visiting the National Gallery and the Smithsonian. Additionally I’ve been doing some reading on art history. Mostly, about the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.
The National Gallery had exhibits on photography and on pastel drawing. The photos displayed were a little later then the daguerrotype, discovered in 1939. They were on paper, instead of silver plates. It’s still fun to see all those people in bowler hats and the landscapes that photographers were drawn to. Also interesting to note that several photographers in the show were painters.
The pastels displayed from the end of the 19th century (and a few from the 20th century) and some of the paintings from the museums permanent collection were fun to look at too. And Degas and Manet create such engaging subjects. I’m assuming they used photography. And of course it was fun to see the museum’s permanent collection as well.
I’m not sure how all of this is influencing my art except to say I feel less guilty about using so many photos. I think I will be sticking with portraiture for awhile.
“Mystery” acrylic on canvas
The end of 2019 has been really exciting for me. I had one solo art show in Brookland, DC and participated in a large group show in Silver Spring, MD. In keeping with this trend I am starting the new year with a group show in Annapolis, MD. It is a privilege and a thrill to have my painting, Mystery, accepted into Maryland Federation of Art’s Winter Member Show. There were 61 entries accepted out of 438. The reception will be January 12th from 3 to 5pm. The exhibit is up from January 4th through the 20th. The address of the gallery is Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis MD 21401.
I am looking forward to the new year and hope to pursue more art related activities. 🙂
Recently I’ve been trying to figure out what to do for another series. It’s been hard to come up with ideas so I’ve been carrying around my camera and taking photos. Here is some of what I have.
In this past year I have been drawn to painting my friends and family. I paint from photos. I think I like them because they connect me to past moments. That is why I like the snap shot instead of an official looking portrait.
I am currently working on a double portrait of an aunt and cousin of mine. For me it’s nostalgic. It’s from a visit we had when I was a child. I found it looking through old photos. I don’t remember what was going on at the time but my connection to the people in the portrait draws me in.
Kristin’s Valentine to Life
I painted this portrait of my friend Kristin. I am constantly inspired by her and feel so fortunate to be her friend. Below is her description of her struggles but also, I hope, a testament to what she has overcome.
Was very ill and had several unsuccessful surgeries. Gradually lost ability to walk, developed cerebellum damage, and went into organ failure. After a final life-saving surgery in 2014, have been in recovery, relearning how to walk and function. Because was so ill, recovery included developing epilepsy. Very frequent seizures caused further damage in left temporal lobe, making it impossible to continue 12-year career in international development and so changed careers. Currently an LMT in WV.
Recently I was contacted to participate in a group show at the Fillmore in downtown Silver Spring by RAW Natural Born Artists. The show is on October 24th from 7 to 11pm. I’m super excited to be in the show with 59 other artists. There will be a lot to look at. If you are interested in supporting me in the endeavor buy a ticket on my profile page.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Fillmore, it’s a music venue. It’s very easily accessible by metro. There are also many parking garages around it.
Well, I’m hoping to talk to some new people and old friends. I hope to see you there!
There are many times when I do not know what to draw or paint but I have the urge to make something. These drawings were made when I had a train ride. Sometimes it’s easiest just to do something simple.