So, I have this chair that the previous owners of our last house left behind. I dragged it along to this house- and I keep meaning to maybe sand it and paint it- but part of me loves the rust and the grit.

My mom has stories of visiting her grandparents on their house on a lake- and in the winter, when the lake froze, she and her sister and cousins would scoot eachother around on the ice in this kind of chair- the metal legs apparently made great skis. So that story doesn't include me (before my time), and it doesn't include this exact chair (though it may easily have been from the same time). But it's a family story- so I, being supremely sentimental, have always liked these chairs in general - and imagine myself getting pushed around an icy lake so clearly it's almost as if the story really does include me.

Another person the story doesn't specifically include is my mom's mom. But I've always just lumped everyone in the family into the scenes I build in my imagination while hearing about my mom's memories of her grandparents. So these chairs make me think of my grandmother too.

Today I'm facing the reality of losing my grandmother- she's coming to the end of her life, and though I'm glad her suffering is nearly at an end and I feel very at peace with my realtionship with her- I'll miss her very much. She was a quintessential grandmother: She thought I could do no wrong, she was a champion of my art and she taught me to make swedish meatballs. When I was little she always had stacks of drawing paper and a million markers and pens to draw with. She kept a copy of a story I wrote in first grade taped her fridge until I graduated from college. She loved my husband and my boys- quite possibly more that she loved me.

I'm very comfortable with my own personal beliefs in terms of the cycle of life. I'm sure she'll be a part of me forever, and I am so thankful to have had her in my life for these 36 years of mine. Nevertheless, I've been wandering around feeling swirls of natural emotions and felt a really strong urge to do something with them- and there stood that chair, out in the afternoon sun. So I let some paints swirl around for a while and came up with this:

It's no masterpiece- but it felt good to do, and I know my gramma would like that I spent a little time thinking of her and painting a simple chair.


a super sunday opening

Hello hello! I was having some blogging difficulties yesterday, but here I am now to post about the wonderful opening I had on Sunday. Woah- people were so amazingly nice and the response to my work was overwhelming. I just loved seeing people smile, and seek me out to talk about my process. People had some lovely things to say, but more than that, they had insightful responses and heartfelt reactions. You just couldn't ask for more. See: happy me:

It was a super-serindipitous weekend overall...On Saturday after dropping off my work I met a fabulous local artist while I was out for a walk- she was building an enormous bird's nest which she planned to install in a tree in her yard. Upon talking she strongly encouragd me to apply for acceptance to an area professional artists organization she's a member of, which was flattering. I later stumbled upon a weekend show of an artist whose work I have long loved: Pat Hidson. More exciting than getting to see loads of her work all in one space was meeting the woman herself and finding her to be one of the warmest, most encouraging people I've ever met. I then wound my way home with one more stop at a group show featuring the work of an artist whose name I recognized from a guild I recently joined. That show turned out to be a huge wow, and I was amazed by how warm and welcoming the artists were- and how they accepted on my word alone, that I was an artist too.

Then the opening on Sunday, which I've already gushed about...and after that, I went right back to Pat's show and snapped up a piece of hers I'd been thinking about all night. I felt so lucky to have had such a huge early response (5 pieces sold) at my show- I decided to just turn a portion of that right back around. It's been a while since we've been able to buy a piece of original art, and I'm sure we could have used the money to fix our washing machine...but it just felt right, so we did it.

So, it was a great weekend...I'm curious to know whether any more pieces will sell over the run of the show. If they do, I'll put the money right in the bank to pay for that washer.


all in a row

I'm framing up the last of my pieces for the show I've got lined up for the summer. It's a show that was booked last spring, so I've been looking forward to it for a year! They jury once a year, and when they accepted me, they assigned me their summer time-slot, which feels like a good time of year for my work, given the somewhat bright, cheerful colors etc.

If you're in Milwaukee, stop in and check it out- it runs until September 10th. The show opens this Sunday at the Leenhouts Gallery, which is within the First Unitarian Church of Milwaukee, 1342 N. Astor Street (Astor and Ogden). The gallery is obviously open on Sundays, but also during regular building hours through the week - which I believe are 10-4. It may seem like a bit of an unconventional space, but they've been operating for years and have put together some really great shows- I was honored to be accepted. It was a great challenge to have the year to build up a body of work- it's a solo show in a big space, so I think I'm bringing about 20 pieces down!