Monday, January 31, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I tend to worry a lot and have been falling into that cycle more than I would like lately. This has made it hard for me to see the whole picture and has inhibited me from working in my studio much to make new art, which I really need to do.

In actuality, I know that I am truly blessed and just need to remind myself of all of the good things I have going on in my life. So I am going to use my blog to count my blessings and point out the many things for which I am grateful. By putting this out there in this manner, I can revisit this post, add more blessings and remind myself not to worry so much.

- I have a wonderful husband who supports me in what I do and who just wants for me to be happy.

- I have my health and am able-bodied.

- I have a roof over my head & plenty to eat and do not want for anything.

- I live in a place where I can express my ideas, thoughts and opinions without fear of persecution.

- I don't need to earn a living off my art and can pursue my ideas wherever my creativity may take me.

- I have the support of friends and family who can help me through tough times and share in my joy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Art of the Week: ACEOs

I am totally hooked on ACEOs (Artist Cards, Editions and Originals) and am offering some of my original fantasy cartoons on eBay, along with my remaining fairy horses. Each is cut down to the standard size (2 1/2" x 3 1/2"), backed with matboard in a plastic sleeve and comes with a certificate.

Don't forget about Cold Hands, Warm Hearts boutique this Saturday during the St. Charles Fete de Glace ice carving competition.

Cold Hands, Warm Hearts
jewelry and fashion accessories boutique
218 North Main St.
St. Charles, MO
Jan. 29, 2011
10 AM - 1 PM

Monday, January 24, 2011

This Week

I am going to be participating in a jewelry boutique this coming Saturday. The boutique will be at Framations, where I am a resident artist with my jewelry, and will include several local artists selling jewelry and other wearables, just in time for Valentine's Day. The event is happening in during the St. Charles Fete de Glace ice carving competition.

Cold Hands, Warm Hearts
jewelry and fashion accessories boutique
218 North Main St.
St. Charles, MO
Jan. 29, 2011
10 AM - 1 PM

I also have some artworks in these non-local exhibitions, which opened recently:

Hybrid Identity

Columbia Art League
207 S. Ninth St.
Columbia, MO
Jan. 18 - Feb. 26, 2011

Sanctuaries in Time
Jewish Women Artists' Network of the Women's Caucus for Art
Columbia / Barnard University Kraft Center for Jewish Life
606 W. 115 St.
New York City, NY
Jan. 21 - March 1, 2011

Nature's Human

Chautauqua Lecture Series national exhibition
Fred P. Giles Gallery
309 Campbell Building
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave.
Richmond, KY
Jan. 24 - Feb. 18, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Real Beauty

Claudia DeMonte's Real Beauty, currently on exhibit at Webster University's Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, explores global ideas of beauty by incorporating handmade dolls from around the world in a large scale installation. These dolls "speak to women’s lives and their connections to each other" and offer a glimpse into the maker's "perception of the female’s place in society... revealing much about herself in the context of her larger culture."

It is refreshing to see so many perspectives on beauty. Too often it seems that we are faced with very limited notions that demonstrate cultural biases based on age, economic & social standing, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and more. Throughout history, idealized notions of beauty have included "the use of corsets, binding of feet, piercings, plastic surgery... application of chemicals to face and hair." Even today, several industries exist essentially to profit from our insecurities about ourselves by promising that their products, procedures and advice can increase attractiveness.

Like many women, I have struggled personally with my physical appearance and could name a host of things I would change about myself if I could just wave a magic wand and do so. These struggles and those of others I have known have even informed numerous artworks, especially when coupled with my strong desire to overcome judgment and confront stereotypical assumptions. I am very glad that I attended the reception for this exhibition; seeing so many interpretations of beauty from around the world encouraged me to me reevaluate what is truly important and what is genuinely beautiful. Real beauty isn't found just on the surface, it also comes from within, we just need to open our eyes to more possibilities.

Claudia DeMonte
Real Beauty
Cecille R. Hunt Gallery
Webster University - Visual Arts Studios
8342 Big Bend Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63119
Jan. 21 - Feb. 19, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I attended the gala reception for the Alton Little Theater season ticket patrons and Artfully Alton show artists on Thursday. Artists were also invited to see Kindertransport that night during the final dress rehearsal/preview show.

Kindertransport, by Diane Samuels, is about the experiences of a woman who had been transported out of Nazi Germany among the 10,000 Jewish child Holocaust refugees sent without their parents to Britain that happened from 1938 - 1939 prior to World War II. Although the characters are fictitious, the play is based on the real mass flight and stories of those children.

The performance was outstanding. The play itself was very touching and emotionally moving and raised awareness of many of the issues that those refugees encountered. The dialogue was memorable and thought-provoking. One line in particular stuck with me:

"Never let people who hate you tell you what you are."

This sentiment resonates with me on a personal level, since so much of my work is about shaping identity and confronting stereotypes and taboos. I strive to confront stereotypes and assumptions in much of my work, and this quote sort of sums up why, thus I wanted to draw attention to it.

Anyway, if you get a chance to see the play I'd highly recommend doing so, but please be aware that it is emotionally-charged and includes strong subject matter. And, if you do make it, I hope you enjoy the Artfully Alton Exhibit in the lobby. Christine Ilewski organized a powerful show of paintings & artworks by several local artists, including a stirring installation by Lillian Bates and three of my Forgotten Series works from my Relics & Reliquaries show at The Green Center.

Artfully Alton Exhibit
in conjunction with Kindertransport
Alton Little Theater
2450 N. Henry
Alton, IL
Jan. 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Website Updated

A big, hearty thank you to my husband Chuck for helping me to update my website!

We made a lot of changes and posted several newer pieces, especially among my identity-based artworks. Some of my Self Awareness and Gender Identity works were split out to create a new subsection entitled Taboo. This expanded subsection includes most of my menstruation, political, religious and otherwise more provocative art, although some can still be found in Gender Identity.

I am hoping to update my Plein Air works to reflect some of the 2010 events that I participated in later on. The current WCA Guest Artist Show at Jeane Vogel Studios has been added; since the show was extended, you can still check it out in person, so please feel free to drop by and do so if you haven't already done so.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Making Time for Making Art

My husband and I have been working to update my website this week. In doing so, I was surprised to discover that I hadn't made a lot of totally new art this year until I thought more about what I have been doing. 2010 marked the big kickoff for both Life Blood Exhibit and the debut of the Art Is Everywhere sign project. I also participated in a number of shows and art events and have traveled more for my art than in awhile. So, instead of making art, it seems that I've spent more time managing, organizing and showing existing art.

Artistically I've felt myself at a crossroads and so think that my productivity has slowed down somewhat. The art I've undertaken has also been pulling me to different extremes, focusing on more traditional things like drawing while simultaneously experimenting more with redefining what is and isn't art and blurring the distinctions between art and life. I've also reworked a lot of past pieces, incorporating them into installations and new works.

And I've spent more time reassessing my life itself, especially after some minor health concerns. What is important to me? How do I want to spend my time? What do I need to do to better myself as a person first and foremost? My life and art are very intertwined, for both good and bad, and so I am well aware that for my own well-being I need to make time to make art.

So, for all that I plan to stay active showing and already have several events lined up, I am going to focus on production more in 2011. I hope to continue to focus on honing my drawing skills, since that is the root of why I first became interested in art, while also experimenting and revisiting past works. I plan to continue to participate in the plein air events as I can do so, but not worry too much about producing a lot of pieces. Most of all, I'm not going to push too hard and plan to just let things flow, whether I'm working on something with the intent to show it or whether I'm working on something for its own sake.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

About Art of the Week

I created Art of the Week to make an attempt to include more photos of my work here upon noticing that my blog was very devoid of images for an art blog, as it focused more on writing about art discourse, myself and life observations. As you may have noticed, these posts run the gamut of what I do and don't always fall in with my more serious work. These pieces will likely never be included on my website, at least not in the format presented, since they are just quickly captured in the moment with my digital camera.

The purpose of Art of the Week has developed to connect on a less formal level than my website. Thus I have intentionally featured artworks that offer more a sampling of who I am as a person; many of these pieces are made for fun or as explorations and will never be shown, so this is an opportunity to see into my life more than in the formal art setting. It also provides a glimpse into process and into my other interests, like model horses, role playing games, drawing and more.

I have intended to post new pieces every week but some weeks I find myself focusing on the management aspects of my art career: entering shows, catching up with galleries, networking and so on. Other weeks I find myself working on long-term or large-scale projects that are not as well suited due to the time spent or that I want to remain more private until their formal release in the art world setting.

I don't post on a regular schedule because I see it as a freeform platform to document some of who I am and what I do. I hope that you have enjoyed perusing some of the random musings and creations I have generated and posted.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Art of the Week: Fairy Horses

Here are a couple fairy horses I customized. I just wanted to relax after the holidays, so I decided to customize some Breyer Stablemates models. (I have collected model horses since I was eight years old and started remaking them in high school as a hobby.) The resulting nine fairy horses are currently posted on eBay here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Most artists as a whole tend to be pretty generous. (Obviously not every individual artist is and some people are strictly in it for themselves or to profit, but overall most artists are quite giving.) Unfortunately, that generosity can also mean that we can be taken for granted or taken advantage of, especially when it comes to soliciting donations or charging money to enter shows. Here, though, I want to point out many ways in which artists are very generous, to say thank you to the art community as a whole for its continued support of one another.

We give of our time and materials to do demos, work with children, seniors & others, do workshops and more, many of which are volunteer activities or pay such a meager sum as to barely offset materials. We give of our artwork to fundraiser events, many of which require a 50-100% donation. We offer advice, criticism & expertise to others, informing one another of exhibition & potential sales opportunities and helping one another in the creative process. We band together in collaborative networks and groups to foster camaraderie. We even offer up materials and items we no longer need to other artists who can use them, sometimes for free. (I have myself acquired display fixtures, materials and easels and have given many materials away over the course of time.)

So thank you to everyone for your generosity. It is this continuing support that strengthens the art community as a whole by welcoming and enabling those who may otherwise not show their work. We are truly all in this together.