Ten Years Later

Ten years ago I received a pretty amazing grant from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The Robert D. Beckmann Emerging Artist Fellowship paid for more than a year of my studio rent and allowed me time to figure some things out without worrying about how I was going to afford a key piece of my art business.

It also connected me with some mentors who still influence and inspire me today. What a boost for a recent college grad. Since receiving the fellowship I've grown my business, had art work in a feature film, a national television show, self-published a book, and shown in multiple group and solo shows. I believe in the mission so much that I also now work for the Arts Council.

I hope you'll join me on Friday, June 2 at Gallery 924 at the Arts Council in celebration of ten years of the Beckmann fellowship.

Indy Cartography

A few months ago I set about planning and mentally laying out a new show for the City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts. I knew almost right away that it would revolve around maps. I would tie these maps to important places in Indianapolis, my home.

And, the work would be big - the first piece I started for this show was 4 x 3 feet. I had been itching to do larger paintings for a while. 

Sketchbook layout of the City Gallery  

Sketchbook layout of the City Gallery  

Three weeks ago, several paintings were in progress, some more than others, but nothing was finished. Also three weeks ago, a disc in my lower back herniated. Great timing, right? 

Spine model from my doctor's office, showing the offending disc  

Spine model from my doctor's office, showing the offending disc  

Many things became uncertain. For a time after I couldn't go to work, drive, walk up stairs, and certainly couldn't get to the studio to continue these big pieces. But, with everything I couldn't do, I needed a goal (besides all the things listed above) and that was to commit to this show, even if I wasn't sure I could make it to my own opening.

What you will see at tonight's opening and throughout January was created, in large part, in the last two and a half weeks. And I love it all. 

'North Split' in progress  

'North Split' in progress  

The work is much smaller, and all on paper, things I could work on from home. And I'm really proud of it. It's not what I originally planned. It's better.

'Herron Morton Place' in progress, from the couch. 

'Herron Morton Place' in progress, from the couch. 

While I wish I could have avoided injury, it pushed me to re-examine my approach and the results are on view this month. 

Deadlines drive us.  

Starting Over

Today I started over on three paintings. They have been in progress for weeks and today all progress stopped... or did it?  

They've been painted white again, back to the beginning, but they now have a little more texture, there are shadows of the previous layers, and will be the base for something new... one day.

 

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For now, they are sitting in a corner of the studio. Things like this make me wonder if I'll ever finish a painting again. I hate this feeling. 

Revisiting the Past

I'm in process of decluttering both at home and in the studio in an effort to own less stuff and have what I do own mean more or at least hold a regular, useful purpose. 

This has resulted in quite a bit of rediscovery of art that was abandoned mid-creation. Rather than tossing out bits and pieces of my starts and stops, I'm throwing them in one place with a goal to finish them out, even if it doesn't follow the original plan (because I'm not in that place anymore anyway).  

Here's the first of this blast from the past clean out project - I came across a short stack of small (5 x 7 inch and smaller) bits of paper from a time when I was experimenting with more saturated layers of watercolor. This was before my obsession with gel inks that can easily by applied over dark backgrounds. I combo'd another recent subject matter - hands - with a nod to a client's illustration project by circling the wrist with ranunculus.  

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I love the result and joining the past with present. Look for more to come here, on Facebook, and Instagram.

Find me at the Indiana State Museum

While you're checking out all the great local art at the this weekend's Indiana Art Fair at the Indiana State Museum, make sure to take a peek inside The Indiana Store.

The Indiana Store is my newest retailer, carrying a selection of Indiana inspired prints and postcards, including two new prints in larger sizes.

You may have seen Midwest is Best and Greetings from Indiana (USA) before as postcards, but this is the first time I've offered them as fine art prints and the first time in 11 x 14 inch sizes. As always, fine art prints are printed with archival inks and paper and each is hand signed. For now, the Indiana Store is the only place you can get these larger prints.

Like what you see? Head over to the Museum Monday through Saturday from 10 - 5pm and Sunday 11 - 5pm. The Indiana Art Fair is this Saturday, February 13 from 10am - 5pm.

Monster Drawing Rally & First Friday

Among my holiday orders and deliveries, I have two important events coming up and I hope to see you at either or BOTH!

MONSTER DRAWING RALLY

Johnny McKee drawing away at MDR; Susie McKenna and her daughter buying one of my paintings.

Johnny McKee drawing away at MDR; Susie McKenna and her daughter buying one of my paintings.

First up this Thursday, December 3 is the second Monster Drawing Rally at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. 100+ local artists will be drawing in one-hour shifts, working on as many pieces as they can. Each completed piece goes to a wall where it is instantly available for sale for $35. Better grab your favorite piece, it could go fast! 

I'll be drawing from 8-9 pm but I recommend being there from the start. Some of my favorite artists are drawing early. The Monster Drawing Rally starts at 6 pm.

FIRST FRIDAY AT THE HARRISON CENTER

On Friday, you can find me at the Harrison Center. I'll be everywhere. The Harrison Center's annual color-themed group show centers around the color black. I have two pieces in this show. 'Black Tie' will be in the Harrison Gallery.

A retrospective of artwork created by artists who have taken part in the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar through Butler University will be in Gallery No. 2 at the Harrison Center. I created a larger blue and white watercolor and ink drawing for my seminar's final exhibition. If you missed it back in June, here's a chance to catch it.

Finally, you'll most likely find me in my studio. It's OPEN STUDIO NIGHT after all. I have lots of gift-able items including fine art prints, original art necklaces, postcards and of course original art everywhere. Support your local artists this holiday season!

See you this week!

Don't Forget Paris

Hello all – I’ll be letting you know more about some holiday housekeeping items in the coming days and weeks, but wanted to start off with a reminder of a book I published a few years back, The Paris Book, and that it would make a fab holiday gift.

The Paris Book is a collection of black and white photographs taken by my father while visiting Paris in 1996. A professional photog with a background in media, sports, and commercial work, he was also gifted when it came to more intimate images. Upon returning, he assembled with great care what would become a book. Unfortunately, he never got to finish the book himself. He passed away in December 2003.

It took a few more years, but I was finally able to edit and publish the book on his behalf in December 2009. I’m honored to have completed this work for him.

I’m also not taking a dime for this book. All proceeds from its sale go to the Stephen B. Oberreich Memorial Art Scholarship at Ball State University, where we both earned our art degrees (okay, he went on to get a Master’s there, too).

Please consider The Paris Book this holiday season. You’ll be getting a beautiful look at the city of Paris through the eyes of a master photographer and help contribute to the education of a current art student.

** Please keep in mind that The Paris Book is print on demand so it will take a bit longer to ship than if you ordered though Amazon, for example. Allow some extra time, or you can order the digital version and download it to your favorite device.**

Thanks and happy (early) holidays!

(Photos used in this blog post are of lower quality and resolution than those in The Paris Book.)