My artist statement in the making

This week I took another major step forward in creating and revising my artist statement, with the help of other artists at Part 2 of the Artistic Cartel Meetup sponsored by the Artful Phoenix in North Attleboro, Mass.

Recently, it became even more clear how important a good artist statement is. I applied to get into a juried show and was rejected. When I got the general generic email about why my artwork didn’t make it, I emailed back asking for specifics. The exhibit’s coordinator told me that in addition to looking at the quality of the work and how well all the entries come together as a cohesive exhibit, jurors rely on the artist statement to truly comprehend what an artist is doing. The statement can make or break you when it comes to getting into a show, the person said.

Wow. Scary, huh?

I don’t know whether I’m done with my statement, but at least I feel that it is in better shape than the one I had before and better than the one I sent with my entry form for the show that rejected my work.

My struggle has been trying to nail down what I’m doing as an artist. If I had my choice I would just say something like–“I do what I want, when I want, depending on how I feel that day—kind of like a chef walking into a market, seeing what looks good that day and then deciding what she will cook.” But I don’t think that would do. So, here is what I have now as a statement. I would love your thoughts and feedback. What do you think?

ARTIST STATEMENT

I am driven by an unrelenting curiosity and a desire to play with a variety of mark-making materials and concepts revolving around the spirit of women. These givers of life are beautiful, powerful and mysterious beings, who deserve to be honored and explored in every medium possible.

As I create art, I leave open my journey, allowing myself to receive what comes to head, heart and hand. My aim is to immerse myself in the process of creating, to explore the colors, subjects and materials that most excite me in the moment. Opening myself often leads me to create acrylic-based mixed media collage pieces that showcase women.

The openness of being present also leads me to create artwork that reflects my fascination with the rejuvenative nature of circles as well as the unspoken language of patterns—from the Kente cloth of my unknown African ancestors to the patchwork quilts created by my Alabama grandmother.

Most of my pieces are imbued with a texture that invites viewers to come closer to see the work and possibly touch it, thus creating a connection between viewers and me.

(Above is a drawing from my sketchbook, Sharpie marker on paper, “Three Divided.” Click on the image to see it large.)

“Serenity”

I’ve been working on this mixed media piece for several weeks, first by playing with lines that turned into trees. I collaged the trees on canvas, then added the lady in red because I find it difficult to NOT include the spirit of women in my artwork. I let it sit, looking at it off and on, waiting to see what it wanted. This weekend I felt that it wanted silver circles that shimmer in the daylight and seem to disappear at night. I may or may not be finished with this. I’ll wait a bit and see.

Do you do that, too? Wait for your art to tell you what it needs and wants? Or am I the only crazy person?

Amazing Gallery Z reception

I’m floating this morning. Last night was the opening reception for the Gallery Z exhibition “Afrocentric,” which features two of my mixed media paintings. The beautiful gallery was packed with people from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and everyone had so many wonderful things to say about the art. The gallery staff was absolutely amazing, providing artists with special name tags and giving us the royal treatment all night.

I’m so honored to be included with this group of talented artists. Their work is so inspirational. As I looked at each piece, the word that kept coming to me was “passionate.” All of these women are passionate artists who create with a gusto that is breathtaking. Applause to curator and artist L’Merchie Frazier.

Above is “I Wonder,” which is in the show.  See the other work in the gallery’s slide show here. The show will be up through May 6.

A paper weekend

I indulged my love of paper this weekend at Paper Connection International in Providence, R.I. The company mainly supplies commercial paper sellers, but opens its doors to the public three times a year. Saturday was one of those times. There were lots of lovely textured and patterned papers, many of them handcrafted. I created a greeting card using the paper I bought as well as a mixed media painting–acrylic paint on handmade bamboo paper with collaged pieces from handwritten letters. This piece was created for the “language” theme for the April Creative Every Day Challenge. Oh, how I love paper!

New jewelry

A potential client asked me to design a necklace using her favorite color, which also happens to be my favorite color–turquoise (or aqua, or teal, or anything near that color). And like me, she loves bold, dramatic jewelry. So here are the choices I plan to offer her. She may or may not like these. I love them and enjoyed the  challenge of trying to match someone’s personal preference and style. I plan to put these in my Etsy shop once she takes a look. Wish me luck–and more commissions. 🙂

Gallery show

Some really good things have been happening lately. Tonight I just got another order from my Etsy shop. YAY! I was about to give up on Etsy, but now I’m inspired.

AND, my work will be featured in a juried group show this month at Gallery Z in Providence, R.I. I dropped my two paintings on Thursday. The gallery is located in a prominent spot in the very busy Federal Hill area. I’m again honored to have my work included at another great gallery. The opening reception is Thursday, April 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. If you live in the area, please come by. I would love to see you in person.

So blessed on this Easter day.

Painting with purpose

“We will be painting in a loading dock; please dress in layers as the dock is damp and we will have the garage door open. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.”

It wasn’t the most inviting invite for an early Saturday morning activity. But I was happy to accept. This Saturday I volunteered to help paint life-size figures for the Silent Witness Painting Project for REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.

The organization travels a display of life-size, wooden silhouettes. Each one represents a woman, child or man who was murdered in Massachusetts due to acts of intimate partner violence. All witnesses carry the name and the story of each victim on their breast shield. The idea is that because these individuals no longer have a voice, the silhouettes are their silent witnesses. The Silent Witness Exhibit is borrowed every year by schools, police departments, domestic violence agencies and community groups to raise awareness.

Every two years, REACH has invited me to design a plate for its fall fundraiser REACH for the Stars event, which this year will be in October. My ceramic plate just arrived in the mail this week. And, I’m very excited to get started on it. It has been my very small way of giving back by using my artistic talent to help the organization.

This Saturday was another opportunity to help out by painting with a purpose. I’m always looking for opportunities to use my creative skills in meaningful ways. Thank you, REACH for the opportunity.

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