|A Glimpse Inside My Studio in Columbus, IN|
One of the things I love about living the creative life is how it allows room to play - meaning, as much as it is work with deadlines and several non-painting tasks it is just as important to spend time remembering to hold to the child within. I often start my studio days painting on brown Kraft paper using my hands to push the paint around and just play. It is an easy way to loosen up. I also take some time to experiment with new colors, new subject matter and many of the"what ifs" that rattle around in my head or show up in my dreams. Certainly, there are often many failures when I attempt this on canvas but I strive for this as it is truly where the learning comes from. You just allow yourself to fall down, face first and then slowly get back up and move forward. More on that next month. Today is Leap Year Day!
So what's new? I spent January reorganizing my studio. While the photos don't really convey the amount of work it took I can attest it has helped me in many ways -
|Another Glimpse Inside My Studio - The Painting Side|
clearing my space makes room for new ideas and helps to declutter my mind. An unexpected benefit is that after two years in this space it now feels more like...me...and I'm ready to leap into a new body of work.
I'm also excited to share that I'm in a new gallery - the Left Bank Gallery in Orleans, MA on Cape Cod. As a customer I have had a long relationship with this gallery and its owner Audrey Sherwin Parent. Then last November I leaped into the Left Bank Gallery in Wellfleet with an old college friend and rather impulsively asked if she was taking submissions. After a few days of conversations my work was hanging in her Orleans gallery.
|Left Bank Gallery on Cove Rd in Orleans|
I've always considered Orleans my home away from home so being in this gallery now is especially meaningful. Orleans is where my parents vacationed us for two weeks each summer since I was six, where I waitressed my way through college at the Captain Linnell House and then moved to after college when I found a "real" job as a junior cartographer/graphic artist for the Butterworth Map Company in W. Yarmouth.
Fast forward to 1986 when my parents retired and moved to Orleans and started a new life, becoming part of its very fabric for nearly 30 years. By then I had moved off-Cape but when I visited, my mom and I would steal away and gallery hop and the Left Bank would always be our first stop. We would pick out earrings for each other, look at and discuss the paintings and exceptional craft objects then go have lunch at the Land Ho!
I remember a conversation I had with Audrey that likely she has no memory of. It was in 2012 when my mom was showing signs of dementia and in a "nursing home" and I decided I would return in the Fall and rent a place for the month of November so I could spend more time with her. I found a great rental up in Wellfleet - the old James Lechay mid-century modern home that had a separate art studio where I could continue painting.
|James Lechay's Wellfleet Studio|
As it turned out my mom passed two months prior and yet I decided to keep the rental as a way to help me through the grief. I even took a week-long workshop with Cynthia Packard in Provincetown and was the first time I met Anne Packard who has since had a very strong and positive influence on my art and life.
Many days that month I would walk the streets of Wellfleet - to the library, into town, and to the beach areas. I remember the day I walked into Audrey's smaller Wellfleet gallery (it has since burned down) and found her there and she shared what she knew about Jim Lechay, the history of the mid-century modern homes and, with my mom's loss still on the surface, we started talking about our moms, the unique heavy loss it is as tears were still fresh and I learned from this short conversation that it is a terrible right of passage we all must endure and share as part of our life's journey. I bought myself a pair of earrings, thanked her and walked back to my rental. I don't think she ever knew how this one conversation helped me that day.
Fast forward a few years later after my dad passed. There I was, back in her Wellfleet gallery letting my mind wander and rather impulsively purchased an Arthur Bauman fish mobile to hang in my studio (I have a lot of fish in my studio, this is my favorite). Arthur's mobiles typically are much larger and very Calder-like yet this fish caught my heart. I have never met Arthur but learned he passed away last year on my birthday.
|My Arthur Bauman Fish Mobile hanging in my studio window|
Anyway, I think I just wanted something, anything, to help me feel better. It does that now, it makes me smile.
Last fall when I was showing Audrey my work I could feel my parents in the gallery with me. Maybe that was why she took a leap of faith to add me to her roster of artists. I decided to give her a call a few weeks ago to see how things were going. She was excited to report that my work had received a lot of positive feedback and that four of my paintings had recently sold. Always good to hear after you've joined a new gallery.
I have a sign in my studio that says, "I am on my way to where I started" - it's written in a circle to remind me to be present while also to remember where it all started, and for me I know for sure a lot of it started in Orleans gallery hopping with my mom.
Take a leap of faith today and remember to play. /Chris