Category Archives: art fair

Better.

That’s my word for 2018.  I began this practice of finding a word that describes how I want to define the coming year when I read about this cool website called oneword365, where you do just that – ruminate on how you want your year to go.  Last year, my word was “direction”.  When I saw the tweet yesterday that asked, “What’s your one word for 2018?”, I didn’t even hestitate – it just came to me. BETTER. 

I want to be a better instructor. I have been teaching for 10 years now, and as it is with many things one does for a long time, it’s easy to get in a rut.  My students deserve better than “rut”!  I want to have even more returning students than I already have.

I want to be better at time management. This year, when we got our two Pommies, I had to change how I use my studio.  Because they like to gnaw on things, I’ve had to keep my studio door closed when I’m not working.  This has brought about a change I wasn’t even looking for, but has made me more aware – that by closing my door at the end of the day, I am signaling that I am done working. And by making that connection, my time in the studio is more precious than ever. And I’m spending less time online (ironic, but YAY!) and WAY more time in the studio.  I’ve got a new stash of jazz records I can play, and I love spending full days doing nothing but working.  It’s a dream come true, and even though I’ve been a full-time artist for 8 years now, I’ve never been more aware of how damn lucky I am to have my studio time.  I love it so much, even more than I did in 2010.

I want to be better at saying “no”. I have really improved in this arena over the past couple of years, mainly because I just don’t have the time anymore. This is a great thing, because it means that my art is my priority.  As it should be.  Alas, that means less volunteering and fewer long lunches, but my practice has improved tenfold.  And my income has more than doubled in the past year. This year, I want it to double again.  So there’ll be even more times where I don’t allow my fear of being disliked to overwhelm my resolve to make my art the most important aspect of my workday.

I want to be even better at trying new things. Last year was the first year I did outdoor art markets.  It was terrifying for me.  But I did three, and they were fantastic (even if the weather was awful for the first one). This year, I’m seriously contemplating applying for a residency that would be two weeks long, in a very remote place. EEK. But I have to try, right?  🙂

I want to be a better artist. This one’s a no-brainer, or it should be! Of course I want to be a better artist!  I love learning new techniques and also combining techniques I’ve already learned in new ways.  I am currently doing that for a show I have in a month called “A Cut Above”, which will run from February 1-23 at ArtSpace Collective in Oshkosh.  It’s my solo member exhibit, and I’m combining printed letterpress blocks with collage.  I’m super excited about it already, and I’m only 1/7 of the way through!

(Here are two of the pieces that will be in the show – they’re called Mail I and II and are each 2″ square. The two men are the letterpressed blocks incorporated into the rest of the collage.)

I want my world to be better.  Okay, I have less control over this aspect, but there are things that we can all do if we want our communities, our government and our surroundings to be better.  And I want to be better at using those resources to make a difference, however small. I also know that I can be a better human being, and that means more kindness, more acceptance, more patience (I REALLY need help here) and more courtesy toward every other human.

I want to take better care of myself. This means eating better, exercising more, and moving more.  The older I get (and I turn FIFTY this year!), the more I realize that one’s health is the most important thing we have.  I’ve been too lax for too long in this department, and while I enjoy a pain-free life, I understand how important it is to keep it that way.  We just take it for granted, but if 2017 taught me anything it’s that nothing’s for certain, and we have to be proactive to live the life we want.

What’s YOUR word for 2018?  Follow the link and you can play along!! 🙂  Happy 2018, everyone! May the new year bring you happiness and well-being, and better things.  🙂

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The Year of Firsts!

What can I say about 2017? For a while, it could go straight to hell. It started off not-so-great, with several sad personal events happening in the first couple of months. I am happy to report that by the middle of June, the year began correcting itself in terms of my personal life. That is a huge relief.

But in most ways, it was amazing! Professionally, I think I can honestly say that it was my best year ever. It was the first year I more than doubled my sales, which I hope to repeat in 2018. It was the first year I had a booth at the IgNight Markets in Green Bay and The Artery Holiday event in Kimberly.

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My booth at The Artery holiday market in Kimberly, Wisconsin, in December

It was the first year I worked almost exclusively in series, and I absolutely LOVE IT.  Looking back, I have no idea why I constantly limited myself by only doing one-offs. But I’ve done three series this year (Painted Desert, The Collagraph in Miniature, and The Detritus Project), and one mini-series (Color Collages), and a few others here and there for a total of 152 pieces (YIKES! I guess it was just a feeling that I was busy this year!). I’m working on a new series for my solo exhibit at ArtSpace Collective in Oshkosh – another first for me, as I just joined ArtSpace in October! It’s a group of 14 artists in and around the Oshkosh area, and they’re just lovely people. I’m so excited to be a part of this group!

I’ve already talked about my amazing Treehaven experience, and some of my teaching experiences, and I had three fabulous residencies this year – the first two were one-day school residencies where I either demonstrated a reduction linocut (at Friendship Elementary in North Fond du Lac), or led a day-long collage workshop for some art club students (at Brandon Middle School). I also had my two month-long library residency at the Appleton Public Library, where I showed my Detritus Project exhibit and had a class, demo and lecture about The Detritus Project (more about that project, here!).

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This past summer I was invited by printmaker extraordinaire Christine Style to participate in The Wisconsin Idea Alphabet, which was a group of about 50 or so printmakers, each assigned a letter of the alphabet.  I got the letter “Y”, which I entitled “Yessiree Bob!”, a tribute to that great Wisconsin statesman, “Fighting” Bob LaFollette.  You can see my block in the photo below, with the remainder of the alphabet!  It was such a wonderful weekend and I’m so honored to have been asked to be a part of such a great project.  I didn’t mention the best part – it was a steamroller print!  We printed right on the dock by the Hardy Gallery in Egg Harbor, Door County!  So great.

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I also was accepted into Issue 35 of my favorite magazine, UPPERCASE! It was all about data-driven art, and I made it with a few of my collagraphs! This is my fourth time in the magazine and it’s always an honor! Thank you, Janine!  🙂

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Another unique experience this year was being a part of a design team with Kevin Rau of Rauhaus Design + Letterpress to create the invitation for one of my sister’s friend’s daughter’s wedding. I drew the tree image and Kevin made a photopolymer plate of it and also letterpressed the entire invite! It was such a cool project, and I’m happy to have been a part of it!  😀

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I was commissioned by my in-laws to do a grouping of pieces to complement their living room decor. As is ALWAYS the case, I freeze when asked to do commissions, and starting this year I decided to limit my commission work only to those people who I know or who know my work well enough to know how I work and what they’ll get. It’s a process that’s fraught with peril for me, but in early November I finally finished the project! It’s a nine-piece set of monoprints in the same colors as their furniture. I have to say, I was really pleased with how they turned out but more importantly, my in-laws were thrilled. That meant so much to me! I was sort of possessed when making these pieces and they’re in a style I never work in, so I’m very glad they were happy.  🙂

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A series of nine monoprints made for Brian’s parents

One amazingly positive event that happened personally was the addition of our sweet twin puppers, Peggy and Maude! (Yes, it is a given that any pups who are part of our family will have their own Facebook page.)  🙂 They are twin Pommies and we love them dearly. We adopted them on October 4 and they have added so much to our lives.  They’re our sweet babies and we love them so. It’s so nice to have puppers in the house again, and these ladies are only two, so we hope to have them for many years to come.

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Maudie (left) and Peggy, hoarding their squirrels and other stuffies. 😀

I don’t know how I can top this year – I mean, there’s really only one time that one can be immortalized in a bobblehead!

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Brian surprised me with this amazing gift for my 49th birthday!  🙂

Happy 2018, everyone! Here’s to a fresh start with lots of art!

 

 

 

 

 

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Craziest. Night. EVER.

We have a saying in Wisconsin that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.  (Actually, I think most Midwestern states have that saying.)  Last night, I found out how true that saying is – almost literally!

I participated in the first-ever igNight Market in Green Bay, which happens to be my hometown.  I’d heard about it via Facebook and thought it would be fun, since I hadn’t done any sort of selling of my art there.  I left Green Bay in ’96 and this business of art wasn’t even on my radar yet.

I was pretty nervous about this market, since I knew Brian would be out of town and I’d have to go it alone.  I was as prepared as I could’ve been, which is always helpful, but I was still anxious about putting up the tent myself, as this was my first real art market ever! (I also realized afterward that I just can’t go it alone to these markets – not yet, anyway.)

I got to the market at the perfect time, had a super amount of help from the fabulous staff with set-up, and was on my way.  For a first-time event, the crowd was fantastic!  I had brought my collagraph series and my Painted Desert rust-dyed encaustic series along – one on each table (you can see that in the photo, above).  I had also brought along some of my matted linocuts.  The wind was pretty strong so I had to keep some of my work flat, but it didn’t seem to matter – people were really interested and I had wonderful chats with a LOT of people, and I made some sales!  (It is here where I have to say I am so very grateful for my amazing dad in-law, who made those cool shelves for me!  He’s such a great guy.  I’m super lucky.)  😀

I also got to see many Green Bay friends whom I don’t see enough, like my old college roommate Pia and her husby, Phil.  We had a chance to reminisce and also talk about an upcoming ride we’re doing, which was great.  I saw two of my art friends, Steve Ballard and Geri Justinger.  Steve’s wife Patricia was so lovely and got me water, which I desperately needed.  Geri is super thoughtful and had brought me a huge lot of graphic tape the last time she was at a thrift store and delivered it last night (thank you again so much, Geri!!). I got to see my friend Cheri Larson, whom I hadn’t seen since 2013.  But the craziest meeting happened to be with my friend Amy, whom I met on our first day of 6th grade in 1979, and her husband Bill.  I hadn’t seen her or Bill in person in over 20 years!  It was fantastic.

It is during this reunion of sorts where things get really bizarre.  As you can see from the above photo, when the market began there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  It was really warm, and I was sweating profusely, but so was everyone.  I think it was even fairly nice out when Amy and Bill found me.  But then….

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Yeah.  This happened.  You can see that Bill is hanging on to the tent so that it won’t blow away.  There were some other lovely people in the tent on the other side who were helping me too, just some folks who took shelter when the storm hit.  (What you can’t see is the insane amount of lightning.) The radar said we were in a “dangerous thunderstorm alert”, which was supposed to pass in about 10 minutes (it didn’t).

About 20 minutes later Bill ran and got their car and drove me to mine. I had made the executive decision to leave, on account of the fact that the streets were getting flooded and everything was soaked.  I was really afraid for my art (which, I am happy to report, made it through unscathed!).  They asked if I needed help tearing down and I said no, that it would only take me about 10 minutes.  When I got back to my booth, they were both there, waiting for me, and helped me load up my car.  I could’ve cried from thankfulness.

I drove home through one of the worst storms I can remember driving through – it was really rough.  We were all going about 35 mph for a good 20-mile stretch (Green Bay is about 70 miles from Fond du Lac).  But I took my time and I made it home in one piece, set everything out to dry, and went to bed.  🙂

The take-away from all of this?  Actually, there are many:

  • I have wonderful friends, even ones whom I hadn’t seen in decades
  • There are so many lovely people out there willing to lend a hand
  • The payoff for being super-prepared is immense
  • I will try to not sweat the small stuff
  • You don’t mess with Mother Nature – she’ll win pretty much every time.  🙂

I have one more of these markets, on September 16.  Brian is coming with me this time and I’m pretty sure the weather won’t be quite as wicked!