Flowers aren’t the only kind of bouquets I love 😉
Speaking of bouquets, in high school, a guy from the grade above me asked me what my favorite flower was. I answered “fire tulips.” (I’ve come to learn they are actually called “Gold Dust” tulips. They’re red at the base and transition into yellow/gold on the tips of their petals and aren’t the most commonly found tulips.) The following day I walked into homeroom (or maybe it was just into class, but that detail doesn’t really matter) and there, sitting on my desk, was a dozen fire tulips.
Now it would probably be fun to tell you then we went out and he was my high school sweetheart or something, but we didn’t and we weren’t. (I was actually kind of oblivious at 16 and it never even crossed my mind that he could have been trying to be romantic. I just thought he was being a really nice and thoughtful friend- which by the way I’m still arguing was the case!) Anyhow, I was in the grocery store yesterday and saw “fire tulips” in their Valentine’s display and was immediately reminded of how lasting a simple gesture of thoughtfulness and kindness can be.
So this Valentine’s Day I urge you to spread the love to all those who mean something to you. Your spouse, your friends, your family, even that sweet coworker who always asks how your weekend was.
And of course it doesn’t have to be with flowers (though if you are thinking of that, might I suggest a painting of flowers that will never fade? 😉) Something as simple as a note, a hug, or a text can completely transform someone’s day.
Did you know that I majored in scientific illustration at the University of Georgia?
Yes, that’s actually a major.
If you’re like 95% of the people I talk to, you very well have no clue what scientific illustration is (which is totally fine. The 5% that do know are probably scientific illustrators or else they knew me in college.)
The simplest way to explain scientific illustration is to say that I studied to draw bugs, bones, botanicals etc. to a 100% level of accuracy. Like, imagine Realism and then up the reality factor. I would then use that art to teach- whether that be concepts (like the metamorphosis process of a butterfly) or specifics (like the various parts of a canine muscular system.) Those final illustrations would then (ideally) be used in educational places like museums and textbooks. (If you can remember the illustration of a plant cell in your HS biology book, that was most likely drawn by a scientific illustrator.)
Long story short(ish) scientific illustrators are just storytellers who use visuals instead of words.
And when you look at it that way, it probably comes as no surprise that I now use my paintings to celebrate and share the complex stories of women. I’ve always been a storyteller!
It’s because of this background that all of my paintings combine intricate (almost scientific) line-work with vivid colors. I’m striving to balance the facts (the line work) with the emotional (the color) in order to most accurately portray the full story.
There are somethings that I am really good at doing. And then there is blogging. Or journaling if you want to sound cooler or more hip. (I just realized this tab is in fact titled “journal” which now makes me laugh. Mostly because the word “journaling” makes me think of people writing poetry, dressed in large comfy neutral sweaters, drinking tea and talking about life’s bigger meaning or something. Which seeing that I am in fact in a large, cream knit sweater, drinking tea, and just listened to a podcast about minimalism while drawing, actually seems pretty spot on. So yea, scratch any judgement away about “journaling” because I totally just described myself.)
Back to the point though. Blogging/journaling/writing words for others to see, I’m not really great at staying on top of that. But I’m trying to get better at that which brings me to today’s news!
In case you’ve missed my Instagram stories/posts, or my Facebook ones, or even my newsletter (which you can sign up for to the right) I have paintings for sale at this weeks Spotlight on Art! It opened last night and will run through this Saturday at Trinity School of Atlanta. I have some newer/more abstracted canvas pieces, plus a few more traditional framed floral works all ready and waiting to come live with you :)
So if you’re in Atlanta, head over there and take a look! There’s something like 350 artists represented. It’s crazy and awesome.
A few weeks back I found out I was one of 27 artists selected for the Young Collectors Contemporary in Memphis, Tennessee! I’m so excited and honored to be a part of this show and hope to see you there.
To learn more (or purchase tickets to attend) click here! (Or go to http://www.youngcollectorscontemporary.com/)
If you follow me on Instagram you might remember me talking about how my newest body of work was inspired by a dream I had- hence the name Dreams in Color. And while that is true, it’s not the whole story.
You see, the idea behind the compositions and the technical aspects of the paintings (the line work mixed with expressive pools and swashes of watercolor) did come to fruition because of a dream. That is actually where the majority of my inspiration comes together- either from a dream directly or those kind of twilight-y half asleep/half awake moments right before you fall asleep.
(I’ve tried to get better at capturing these as they happen and either text myself somewhat coherent thoughts at midnight-2am or sketch something quickly in the notebook next to my bed. Personally, I prefer the text. Why you might ask? Because otherwise I’m sketching by moonlight. And while that might sound all romantic and artsy, it’s not. It’s more because if I turn on the light I will fully wake up and have a hard time falling back asleep. As someone who needs 8 hours of sleep in order to be a fully functioning member of society instead of an overly emotional grouch, I just draw in the dark. Again, just to make sure I am not overly romanticizing this process, keep in mind that these drawings are not just completed without light, but I’m also not wearing my contacts. So basically what I’m trying to say is that when I draw my dreams/thoughts out, I am just blindly scratching something onto paper in the middle of the night, which I then have to try and decipher the next morning. Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes I’m not. Hence why I prefer my texts. Cryptic or not, they at least have words that kind of go together.)
Well that was an unexpected tangent. Back to the series inspiration.
So although the compositions and colors (sometimes) are brought about by dreams, the ideas behind the series (i.e. what the paintings actually mean) all tie into the overall theme of my art.
If you’ve read my artist statement, then you already know that my work explores the complexities and juxtapositions within people. Specifically women because that is my personal experience.
I focus on flowers because of their metaphorical talents. Flowers have this amazing ability to mimic and portray the full gamut of human emotions. Just shifting a petal or varying the level of life in a bloom can evoke a sense of emotions and storytelling that I could only dream of putting into words. Flowers are also incredibly resilient yet fragile- a quality I find in many women (myself included.) That level of strength paired with vulnerability is a theme that continues to present itself in my work, and it’s one that I welcome with open arms.
Specifically with Dreams in Color, I wanted to explore the idea of finding and becoming your true self. The person you have always believed yourself to be/wanted to be, even if (or particularly if) you felt held back by expectations from society, friends, or family.
It’s about being vulnerable, but not weak. Strong, but not cold. Empowered, but maybe still cautious. It’s about having the courage to be yourself even if you don’t have it all figured out, or even if parts of yourself contradict other parts of yourself and you find yourself living less in the concrete black and white and more in the complexities of the grey.
It’s about breaking free and being who you want, even if (or especially if) it’s hard- and then celebrating that person.
And just to wrap this up on a fun note (and because I saw this episode a few days ago and it made me laugh/speaks to what I’m saying about finding your true self) I leave you with this:
This morning I attended the Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities at Georgia’s State Capitol. There I had the honor of presenting the First Lady of Georgia (Mrs. Deal) with a painting to thank her for her support for the arts and humanities over the past eight years.
After the ceremony I was talking with the Governor and First Lady and couldn’t help but feel such awe and gratitude for the amazing people, places, and experiences my work has brought into my life. This doesn’t come even close to capturing how I feel, but it’s just so. cool. that I’m able to do this and I am forever thankful for the people who encourage, support, and trust me along this journey.
Speaking of awesome people- a huge thank you to Karen Paty and the entire Georgia Council for the Arts for commissioning me to create this painting! It was wonderful working with you and I hope to do it again soon.
As for the piece, Mrs. Deal is one of only three GA First Ladies to have a camellia named after her, so of course that is the flower I featured in the piece.
I didn't intend to write a new artist statement today, but around noon today that's exactly what happened. And when I mean I didn't intend to, I mean it never even crossed my mind. I wasn't upset with my previous statement (I actually thought it conveyed what inspires my work/what I'm trying to say pretty well) but I was reading this piece on literature and book publishing when a quote stood out to me that got my mind racing. Before I knew it, a page of my sketchbook was covered with thoughts- some good, some not so good- all pointing to a common theme that repeats in each piece I create.
Now normally I cannot stand writing an artist statement; my mind just works best visually. Give me paper, paint, and ink and I can tell you my story- sometimes if I'm really good, I can make you feel it. But sit me in front of a computer and tell me to put words to that story? Well that is going to be a much more difficult task. My words always seemed to fall short. An idea that was so gigantic and important in my mind, would read as trivial. Emotions that felt earth-shattering while I painted became ordinary as my mind searched for the correct vocabulary to describe them.
(Side note before I forget, kudos to all of the truly talented writers out there. The gift you all have to transport our imaginations with ordinary words astounds me.)
But today was different. Today, I could find the words. Or at least most of them. I have no doubt that in a few months I will probably tweak my statement and maybe even after a few more months I'll scrap the whole thing mumbling something about it "not making sense" or "not capturing the essence" or something else meaning practically the same thing and be compelled to start over. But today I'm going to bask in the feeling of it being right. Today, I got that much closer to explaining how my art brings to life the swirling, emotional ideas of my mind (which sometimes consist of no more than color and line.)
This was such a wonderful honor (and surprise!) A huge thank you to everyone who voted for me.
Growing up, my parents always subscribed to the local newspaper and my dad wouldn't let them get recycled until he'd read each one front to back. (Much to my mom's annoyance given that she likes a very clean, uncluttered house 😉) Even all these years later, I can still vividly recall the memory of my dad sitting at the breakfast table, cup full of black coffee and the newspaper spread open between his hands as he read. Something about the newspaper (and having arms long enough to hold it open to read) meant "adulthood" to me.
So to open the Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal today and see my work in the Living and Arts section- well, surreal is the only word that accurately describes it.
Thank you so much to Linda Jerkins for the amazing piece and to the AJC for including my work! You can read the piece here.
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."- Vincent Van Gogh
I came across this quote back in art school and it's proven to be very comforting throughout the years. Mainly because it always reminds me that the big things don't just happen; the large wins or successes are always tied to a lot of smaller (possibly even mundane) tasks and events that had to be done. So when it may sometimes feel as though you're constantly working on "small tasks" remember this quote and take comfort in knowing that all of those small things are coming together to form something great.