Monday, April 27, 2009

Claude's Photo Shoot

Claude and I had an amateur photo shoot today in our makeshift living room studio to start preparing for his big art show in August at Cranky Yellow. More information on the show will be forthcoming.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Claude Goes to Mount Pleasant Winery

Claude again enjoyed watching the artists at work and taking in the wonderful scenery at Mount Pleasant Winery during plein air event this week . Unfortunately I got a bit too much sun at this event and so Claude didn't get to come with me later in the week while I recuperated (for all that I still had a blast participating, albeit in whatever shade I could muster up) . Thank you again to Craig Thomas for photographing us.

Claude Goes to Sugar Creek Winery

Claude accompanied me to Augusta, Missouri for the plein air event this week. Here we are at Sugar Creek Winery on Thursday, April 23. Thank you to Craig Thomas for photographing us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plein Air Season

Starting this Thursday, I will be participating in the Augusta, Missouri annual plein air event. I intend to get as much painting in as possible, so I will be in Augusta for most of the painting competitions and events although I do intend to go home for part of the weekend.

Please feel free to come and watch me and the other artists at work and to come to the sale on Saturday, May 2 at the American Legion in Augusta.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Claude Goes to Frontier Park

We managed to avoid the rain long enough to take Claude to Frontier Park in St. Charles, Missouri today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This Week

I am involved in two shows opening this week, Art on the Spot at Chesterfield Arts and the traveling WCA exhibit at Riverside Gallery.

Art on the Spot features a live event where teams of artists create works on site during the opening reception. Mystery materials will be revealed to the artist teams on Friday at 4 PM, so it is a chance to watch creativity in action. I don't know who all is participating but I do know that Mary Beth Shaw, Cindy Royal and Marlene Difiori Locke are among the other 11 participants, all of us whom will be split up into teams of 2.

Art on the Spot
Chesterfield Arts
444 Chesterfield Center
Chesterfield, MO 63017
April 17 - June 20, 2009
live event: Friday, April 17, 5 - 9 PM

The WCA show at Riverside Gallery is an extension of the show from Florissant-Valley Community College. If you missed seeing my Bitch performance there, you can check out some documentation of it at Riverside Gallery. Unfortunately I won't make it to the reception this week because I am doing the live event, but I checked out the show Monday and it is quite nice.

Women & Environment shows
St. Louis Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art
Riverside Gallery
13 W. Moody Ave.
Webster Groves, MO 63119
April 2009
reception Friday, April 17, 7 - 10 PM

There are actually three exhibits on display simultaneously: Women and Environment (the traveling exhibit from Florissant-Valley), the Rubia quilt (also displayed at the previous show) and Women Space Place (an inclusive members' show in which those who didn't participate in the previous exhibition could show their works along the same theme).

On another note, today I am changing out my jewelry display at Framations in St. Charles for the upcoming Art Walk later this month, so please feel free to stop in and check out some more of my necklaces.

218 North Main St.
St. Charles, MO 63301
ongoing pedestal display of jewelry

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is art education important?

This is sort of a continuation of my last post. Chuck & I recently had a lengthy conversation about art education at all levels, the cutting of fine arts programs and the necessity of such subjects.

It seems to me that we don't value art (not just visual art but theater, dance, music, poetry...) or creativity in our society because we don't value our psychological and spiritual well-being enough. Art can heal, allow us to communicate, and offer focus & discipline. Art can be relaxing, invigorating, energizing and inspiring. It can draw attention to both our weaknesses & societal ills and to human kindnesses & strengths.

But so many people resolve so many emotional & psychological issues/needs nowadays with prescription drugs. I guess we're just looking for a quick fix so we can get back to what's supposedly important. (All too often it seems that what's important is defined as working to make and spend money. The accumulation of material possessions is not fulfilling for many people but it is all too often touted and prescribed nonetheless.)

The more that we continue to move in this direction, the less people will appreciate the real value of art. It won't be seen as an intrinsic need for all that in actuality it is. The truly unfortunate thing is that we learn so much of history and past cultures by looking at their art. What does this legacy say about us and how we will be remembered in the future, or even about how we will study and learn from the past in the decades to come?

Maybe now that so many people are worried about the economy and are trying to change their spending habits, some will come to appreciate non-material wants & needs and will come to better understand the true value of art and creativity. I think that the refocus is already having an effect on the visual art world itself, as there is a resurgence of "crafts" and a reassessment of the purpose of many of the institutions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

A friend of mine sent a link to Do schools kill creativity? I've never had a particularly hard time in school for all that I never felt I fit into that mold, but some of the points that Sir Ken Robinson makes are very poignant, especially regarding the idea of teaching to the real child as opposed to forcing that child to conform to a set standard.

This also reinforced some of the issues that I have with the education system in general and why I haven't yet pursued a Master's degree, a topic that I touched upon very early here in my blog. In part, I also have not gone on in school because I feel that the system perpetuates itself. A lot of students are encouraged to seek higher education in the arts to secure teaching positions in the university setting. But as more and more students graduate and seek said positions, fewer and fewer positions become available because they have been filled, so competition goes up, tenure becomes more and more scarce and a lot of those graduates find themselves struggling to find work in the arts. However, many educational institutions and professors promote the system for all that it is self-perpetuating because they need the students (or at least the money that they bring into the university) in order to pay their bills and salaries.

I am not trying to be overly harsh on the university setting; there are many benefits to higher education. Nor am I questioning the validity of a degree in the arts - if that is your passion then run with it, but do so knowing that it isn't a cop out and that it isn't going to be easy, especially not after you graduate. I still just don't personally want to enter back into that circuit right now.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Claude Meets Samuel

Lately Claude has been hanging out at home in my cat-free office, but today he emerged into the living room. It didn't take long for Samuel to find him and snuggle up in his lap. Claude enjoyed petting the cat for a brief while until his allergies kicked in and he got all poofy and sneezy. He quickly went back to hiding in my office again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What About Blogging? and Upcoming Shows

As many of you have likely noticed, I haven't been blogging near so much since finishing my performance. There are a multitude of reasons for this. I am still trying to catch up after last month and so don't have time. Also, I don't have much of anything to say right now as I am still digesting the performance experience and determining what I want to do now. But the biggest factor is that during and after the performance I really began to reassess what is important and how I feel constrained in other aspects of my life, and I decided to spend less time on the computer overall. So don't be surprised if I post less frequently.

That said, I want to let you know about what I have going on this week. I am participating in both Urban Awakenings, which opens this week, and the traveling St. Louis chapter Women's Caucus for Art's Women & Environment exhibition, which runs through April at Riverside Gallery in Webster Groves and opens next week so I will go into more details then. (I will not be performing Bitch at Riverside Gallery - one month was enough.)

Urban Awakenings
Soulard Art Market
2028 S. 12th Street
St. Louis, MO 63104
April 10 - May 3, 2009
Friday, April 10, 7 - 10 PM
Saturday, April 11, 7 - 10 PM
I am unable to attend the whole evening Friday but plan to be there Saturday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thoughts on Being a Feminist Artist

There have been many times when I have been described as a feminist artist. Make no mistake, I do create a lot of feminist work. Much of my work responds to identity issues, taboos and inequalities, and so it fits. However, I don't see myself solely in that manner.

I am a feminist artist - sometimes. But I wear many hats. I am also a wife, daughter, gamer, environmentalist, humanitarian, animal rights advocate, plein air painter... All of these things conjure up ideas of who I am and what kind of person that makes me. It's not that I'm not a feminist and it's not that I'm not an artist, but I really don't like being labeled or "neatly packaged" in any way. Maybe this sentiment is even stronger now having recently finished my Bitch performance in which I was shut up in a dog crate. But I don't like to be stereotyped and I try not to stereotype others to the best of my ability, though I know that I still may make gross assumptions and generalizations for all that I try not to.

Above all else, I try to be true to myself while not limiting myself to playing solely into any given role, although if I'm having a low self-esteem day I may play up or dwell on some aspect of my being (or more likely just shy away from social situations entirely). What is most important to me isn't identifying with any particular identity but having the freedom to be and explore who I myself am. I much prefer it when people are genuine with me by being true to themselves as opposed to trying to define me and play to that idea of who I am.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Out of the Box

My Bitch performance has ended. The seventeen days in which I have spent a total of around 74 hours in a dog crate have passed. I am free.

However, the performance has made me even more aware of some of the limitations on my life and my artwork that I face. Right now, having just emerged from the cage, I feel even more trapped by those activities which I relegate myself to either out of habit or necessity (in the case of those menial tasks that no one wants to do and those things I have undertaken and feel obligated to finish).

I intend to spend less time on the computer, less time doing thankless & unappreciated chores, more time being aware of what I am doing in the present while not worrying about that which is yet to be done, more time working on my art, and more time with those whom I care about, family and friends. I also feel an even stronger desire to use my art as a means of outreach, advocacy and/or communication, and I hope to engage in some such projects soon.

In regards to what puppy mill dogs endure, I feel that my knowledge is still very limited and that I have barely touched on the experience. However, I better understand the monotony, boredom, atrophy and vulnerability that this causes and I believe it to be unnecessarily cruel to those dogs who are forced to spend their entire lives cooped up for someone else's profit. But what actually strikes me as most inhumane is that the dogs in these situations don't know anything else because they have never had the opportunity to learn or to experience life otherwise.