Fumbling Through

I went hiking on Saturday. And the weekend before. To anyone who knows me well, this is not an alarming piece of information unless you also know that I broke my foot nearly 100 days ago. Believe me, I've been keeping track. As an incredibly active person, the last few months have been some of the most humbling of my life. I went from being very independent, active, and self-sufficient to being entirely dependent on others, especially my sweet husband who became my chauffeur, my errand-runner, my personal chef (oh wait, no change there...), and the one responsible for all the other day to day tasks of living together. I could not ask for a kinder or more loving partner to walk through this identity crisis with me.

Exercising has for many years now been a huge part of my mental and physical health routine and having that ripped away was a much larger blow to my identity than I could have imagined. I spent the week following my first surgery in a class called Building Resilience in Mind, Body, and Spirit. At this early stage of my predicament and being unable to participate fully in so many parts of the movement-based class, I spent the first several days in tears and extreme frustration. The week ended up being an incredible learning and healing experience, a reminder of the generosity and kindness of others, and a better understanding of who I am at the very core. I'd like to think I am moving through this experience with grace and self-compassion, but I am very much as human as the next person. I spent much of the summer feeling sorry for myself and then instantly heaping on the guilt for feeling this way, when clearly I knew my predicament could be a million times worse. I was certain I would walk and even run again for heaven's sake. I had incredible people surrounding me, even when I felt the isolation of my situation. I hadn't lost anyone dear to me, other than the temporary loss of a part of myself I didn't realize I had so much pride in. My summer experience mixed with observations of the state of our country reminded me over and over of the importance of love. Love for others, love for our natural surroundings, love for ourselves. May we all seek connection, understanding, and compassion with those we encounter every day.

Since my last post, Jon and I moved out of my house of 7 years, which was surprisingly less traumatic than I expected. I experienced so much loss and joy in my first home and it will always be a huge part of my story, yet I was grateful to pass it on to friends who will continue to love it. Jon and I are beginning the process of building a home of our own in the country and I couldn't be more excited to live in a natural setting. Before our departure, I asked my friend Soula to capture the space for memory's sake.

Another goodbye this summer came in July when my parents sold their home of 45 years and the only childhood home my sisters and I ever knew. We were lucky to be able to spend the week of the auction in Ohio with them, preparing and saying our farewells. I'm eternally grateful for all I have learned from this land and my given and chosen family I've had the pleasure of sharing time with in this home. Photos by Jon Styer.

The auction took place the week of July 4th so I made a berry vegan cheesecake...colored food is the only way I get patriotic.

One of the best things this summer was one of my favorite people getting engaged and having more free time than I usually have (thanks to the ole foot) to take engagement photos and help with wedding planning in general. I'm getting to live vicariously through Jill and finally helping to plan a fall wedding!

Thanks to all that newfound free time, I also found myself back at my jewelry bench for the first time since moving. I am excited to now be selling some of my jewelry at Spitzer Art Center's new gallery shop and as always, am happy to take custom orders!

Custom Request | Hammered brass dangles

Custom Request | Hammered brass dangles

Custom Request | Copper butterfly necklace

Custom Request | Copper butterfly necklace

This August marked the fifth Art Lotto exhibit, a portrait show where artists create a portrait of another artist whose name they draw during a lottery several months before the event. While the organizers do an excellent job of communicating the goals and purposes of the show, they obviously do not have control over the communication between artists once the names are drawn. I have typically found this to be a very enjoyable experience where I have the unique opportunity of getting to know a new person or two while challenging myself to create a portrait in a new medium each year. This year, I struggled with communication with the artists I was partnered with. I never met the artist who portrayed me and after some back and forth with the artist I was to portray, I heard nothing until 2 days before the piece was due. By that point, I had already moved on and decided I was at a point to be able to use creative license in order to meet the deadline. It was clear to me the artist I chose was too busy to fully participate. I also knew she worked for a florist shop. With the phrase "busy as a bee" in mind, I created a bee mask from brass and photographed my cousin (who shares nothing more than dark hair with Katie) wearing it amongst the flowers at my childhood home. 

Katie | mixed media

Katie | mixed media

Creative Use of Medium Award!

Creative Use of Medium Award!

And now with all that free time behind me, I am heading full steam ahead into another very busy time of year as I go back to school and we move forward with our house build. If you don't see me for awhile, I'm probably covered in sawdust on my land...please send chocolate.

Crawling Out From Under

Here we are at the beginning of March and the weather has been just as tumultuous as our political atmosphere. The combination of heartbreak in watching the levels of hatred our country is capable of being revealed daily, mixed with the hope that has come from seeing others rise up and resist is emotionally exhausting. Meanwhile, spending a full day every week in class with incredible individuals from across the world who are directly affected by the inane policies concocted by this administration on behalf of our "national security" has made me more acutely aware of my privilege than ever. I will never understand the choice for our country's economy over basic human rights and dignity, nor can I grasp how anyone can equate what our current administration demonstrates as being in line with their Christian values. It is hard not to feel paralyzed by the easily assumed feeling of powerlessness. I have no answers for where we go from here, but have tried to remain open, aware, and willing to find common ground in these most uncertain times. 

Along with spending time outdoors, creating has always been one of my main coping mechanisms and now is no exception. While I have mostly stuck with my commitment to say no more this year (hey, I'm human after all!), I have tried to focus my creative efforts on completing outstanding projects that have been hanging over my head for much longer than I'd like to admit. And of course there are always birthdays to celebrate and sweets to make!

January birthday gifts. Left: aged & hammered copper. Right: hammered brass & glass.

My most generous husband donated a 6-course meal for 12 people to the Collins Center's annual Disco Gala, and the recipients decided to redeem it in January. While I can't take credit for much other than moral support and the tiniest amount of help with preparations, I did make all of the desserts, pictured on the left below. 

In February, I completed my first commissioned dessert for a friend wanting to celebrate her vegan coworker, pictured on the right below.

Left: Raw, vegan carrot cheesecake topped with candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate

Right: Raw, vegan tiramisu cheesecake

More raw goodies, from right to left: chocolate chip cookie balls, chocolate chia pudding with bananas and granola, upscaled no-bake cookies with coconut oil and maple syrup, white chocolate vanilla bean truffles and giant peanut butter cups.

It would appear the only thing that can get me through these times is a mass quantity of "healthy" sweets.

On to those projects hanging over my head...

My parents commissioned me several years ago (yes, years) to create a piece for their living room in their new place in Virginia. My mom didn't give me too many specifics other than wanting a piece with four trees to represent their four children. I began working on the piece immediately, completing the background and the dark tree on the far left and then came to a screeching halt while I tried to conceive of the rest of the project. A large part of deciding to say no more this year was a hope that I would stop putting off completing things I had committed to long ago. I'm generally quite good at follow-through and this was becoming embarrassing, especially when most of these outstanding projects were for my family, those I love the most in my life. I finally found the inspiration to complete this piece, using wire my brother-in-law had given me some time ago, a twig I found on a hike, and sheet music my mother had passed along. I snuck into my parents' house while they were away, hung the piece, and recovered a small shred of my integrity.

Offspring | 30" x 40" | mixed media | sold

I can't even remember how long ago I promised my sister a painting for her birthday. I lost count after 5 years and am too embarrassed to ask for clarification at this point. In my most tiny defense, I did ask her what she wanted and had to wait at least a couple of years for any direction, but beyond that, I take full responsibility for my pathetic inability to get my act together. She wanted something large, colorful and representative of hope and love, so I repurposed last year's 6x6x30 display board and created the piece below. 

Flight | 36" x 48" | acrylic & plaster on wood | gifted

My last in-process piece is for my dear friend, Keith, one of the most courageous and generous people I have had the honor of knowing to date. More to come on this one, as ideally it will be completed by my next post.

And in other news, most of Jon and my creative energies and time have been occupied with designing (Jon) and dreaming about (Rhoda) the house we plan to build this year. I am discovering there is nothing this man does not excel at. Here's a snapshot of our land and the view I anticipate enjoying for a long, long time.

Putting on the Brakes in 2017

The next time I decide to get married, have a full time job, go to grad school part time, have two art shows back to back, and start the process of building a house within six months, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life, I sure hope somebody slaps me silly. Living is no joke and adding more to my already full plate has reminded me of the importance of slowing down, of taking time, of saying no. Let's practice. no. No. NO. NO!!! One of these days I'll figure out how to say it graciously and without the overwhelming burden of guilt I usually feel about the impression that I am letting someone down. The truth is I should know by now I'm not so important that there isn't someone else up to whatever job needs to be done, and when I have had the courage to say no, I am generally met with respect and kindness. But yet...old habits die hard. And the love of making is always juxtaposed with the desire to be still, constantly at war with each other for my time. 

The last few months have been a complete whirlwind and I managed to book myself for an art opening at Blue Ridge Architects on the evening before my work's annual fundraiser. Oops. They offered to have me bump my show back a month and as any good procrastinator would, I took them up on the offer without consulting my calendar. Luckily everything came together, the show was hung, and our fundraiser the next day was the Collins Center's most successful event to date. The piece below is what I donated to this year's live auction, bringing in $500, which is nothing to the $1200 Jon's donation of a 6-course meal for 12 people went for! We'll (well mostly Jon, let's be honest) be cooking all weekend for the lucky winners.

30 X 48 | mixed media on canvas | donated

30 X 48 | mixed media on canvas | donated

The Mountainscapes show at Pale Fire consisted of nine 12 x 12 pieces created with framed cut paper assemblages and acrylic and plaster on canvas. Like many of my other pieces, this show was inspired by my love of nature and our surrounding Appalachian mountains. 

Of course I also thought it would be a great idea to make a ton of jewelry to sell at the opening as well - while a crazy thing to add on top, I really enjoyed getting back to my jewelry bench and creating some new designs. 

And thanks to social media, I received a few custom orders, which is always exciting. 

And Christmas gifts!

And food, always food!

Dark chocolate matcha date cookies, Beer can cabbage, Vegan dark chocolate covered figs, raw "snickers", and healthy buckeyes.

Happy New Year!

Thoughts on Home

Home has been on my mind a lot these days with the juxtaposition of my parents leaving my childhood home in Ohio and being in the midst of planning to build my own home with Jon. The slow transition I have seen in my parents' lives over the last few years has been an interesting process to observe as they navigate saying goodbye to their home of over 40 years. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been in a bit of denial about the inevitable loss of this place; I always believed I would have the opportunity to share this magical place with my hypothetical children, yet here I am working up to my own process of letting go and saying goodbye and not wanting to put my own attachments onto my parents, when they fully reserve the right to move wherever and whenever they please. 

My upcoming show in November, Thoughts on Home, created almost entirely with sample materials donated by Blue Ridge Architects, represents the convergence of my past and future as I remember and imagine home. Memories of my childhood meet the overwhelming possibilities available when building - the countless possibilities crippling and at war with my desire to mindfully create a sustainable home that is in line with my values for this earth. 

Thoughts-on-Home2.jpg

Also coming up during First Fridays on November 4th (5-8pm) is the Dia de los Muertos show at Pale Fire Brewing organized by Spitzer Art Center. This is a collaborative show where artists were asked to create an 8"x8" artwork in memory of a loved one. The piece below is in memory of my sister SaraLisa, who left our world nearly 16 years ago on November 17, 2000. My husband Jon is also sharing a piece in this show in memory of his brother Matt and we look forward to sharing this space with others in our community.

And speaking of Pale Fire Brewing, I will be holding a solo show there in December. Stay tuned!

Art Lotto 4

Art Lotto returned this year to Harrisonburg after a year hiatus. Several things about Art Lotto hold true for me each year.

  1. The organizers outdo themselves every year with their organization, events leading up to and including the art opening, and general enthusiasm for the experience.
  2. I am overly ambitious, wait too long to start and somehow manage to pull it off in the nick of time, which only reinforces my instinct to procrastinate the next time.

At the Luck of the Draw event in March, I chose Zach Sensabaugh and he actually drew my name as well. With 50 artists participating, the odds of that happening were incredibly low. Being a fairly busy person, it was great having to only coordinate with one person to work on this project. Zach and I met at the Golden Pony to get to know each other and we discovered a shared love for all things outdoors, hiking, camping, etc. He told me a bear story that will keep me from sleeping alone on the ground without a tent for years to come. Zach had a list of questions for me to help him create a perfume as his portrait of me. A perfume! How cool is that? After doing some abstract embroidering for the 6x6x30 show in March, I had decided to do a solid embroidery portrait for Art Lotto. I photographed Zach that day and created a background of hemlocks for his portrait, his favorite tree. I purchased about 50 different colors of embroidery floss and got to work. Or at least that's what I should have done...as usual, I got all of my materials together and couldn't bring myself to start.

Embroidery floss for days

Embroidery floss for days

Luckily, this project was very transportable which allowed me to work on it during road trips to Ohio, back and forth to Red Wing Roots Festival, and anywhere I could get away with working on it in public.
Some process shots...

Stitching detail

Stitching detail

And the finished piece...

Zach 12 x 12 | embroidery on fabric

Zach

12 x 12 | embroidery on fabric

Zach gave me a tester sample of his perfume and he pretty much nailed it. It has a lot of natural, outdoorsy scents including cedar and citrus undertones. I told my mom it has a really strong scent when you first spray it and then after a bit of time it softens and is really nice. She said "that sounds about right." Hmmm....

At least this year I have a pretty legitimate reason for my procrastination as there were a few other things going on. Like marrying the love of my life. I'll leave you with a few shots from our wedding in June.

Photo by Rebekah Budnikus

Photo by Rebekah Budnikus

Of course when you marry an amazing chef, you have to make all the food (feta, mint. and watermelon skewers). And the invitations (background painted by Jon & I, mountains by Jon, hand lettered by Rhoda). And the centerpieces (mini trees growing in our backyard).

Of course when you marry an amazing chef, you have to make all the food (feta, mint. and watermelon skewers).

And the invitations (background painted by Jon & I, mountains by Jon, hand lettered by Rhoda).

And the centerpieces (mini trees growing in our backyard).

Vegan, raw passion fruit and chocolate cheesecakes. Photos by Sandy King.

Vegan, raw passion fruit and chocolate cheesecakes. Photos by Sandy King.

Windchimes in memory of my sister SaraLisa and Jon's brother Matt. Fabric garland created during a support group I co-led at my work at the Collins Center. Photo by Rebekah Budnikus

Windchimes in memory of my sister SaraLisa and Jon's brother Matt. Fabric garland created during a support group I co-led at my work at the Collins Center. Photo by Rebekah Budnikus

Photo by Rebekah Budnikus. Amazing setting thanks to our dear friends Bob & Keri Sue Brunk.

Photo by Rebekah Budnikus. Amazing setting thanks to our dear friends Bob & Keri Sue Brunk.

And finally, hiking on our honeymoon in Iceland. Go there ASAP. You will not be disappointed.

And finally, hiking on our honeymoon in Iceland. Go there ASAP. You will not be disappointed.

Coming up in November, a solo show at Blue Ridge Architects, created from their discarded samples. Then in December, a solo show at Pale Fire Brewing. In the meantime, back to school! I am beginning a masters program in Restorative Justice through EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding this fall and am looking forward to an enriching and challenging experience over the next few years.

6x6x30

On January 25th, I embarked on a 30 day journey to create a 6×6 inch piece of art every day for 30 days for an art exhibit 6x6x30, organized by Spitzer Art Center. This year’s exhibit, showcasing 47 artists,will be held at VMRC’s Park Gables Gallery. I was excited to participate this year, albeit a bit nervous about committing a decent chunk of my day to creating art on top of an already busy schedule. I’m proud to report that I made time each day to create and I modified my original ideas to have a realistic goal and timeline, thanks to the pertinent advice of some friends who pointed out that my original plan was a bit lofty.

30 days, a lot less sleep, and 2 needles smuggled onto an airplane later, I’m all set for the opening this Friday, March 4th from 5-8.

Finished pieces below, in 6 sets of 5 themes, inspired by nature…

Clouds | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Clouds | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Mountains | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Mountains | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Trees | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Trees | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Leaves | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Leaves | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Waves | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Waves | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Fish | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Fish | embroidery on canvas | $25/each

Full Set

Full Set

Check out the full lineup at VMRC’s Park Gables Gallery starting Friday, March 4th and anytime during the rest of the month of March.

On a more personal note, along this stitching journey, I was also trying to come up with a creative way to propose to my sweetie. So I took him on a hike one day in early February and pulled this out of my backpack…

So technically I completed 31 6×6 pieces in 30 days. Always an overachiever.

He said yes and a week later I got my own artistic response.

I feel so lucky and honored to be marrying this talented, artistic, caring, and most importantly, kind man. Have I mentioned what a wonderful cook he is? It’s going to be a good year.

Live in Your Strength (at least that’s what my Yogi tea tells me)

I’m not sure how middleofJanuary happened without me noticing. Maybe it’s the lack of snow, or cold, or the fact that I’ve been happily distracted for the last few months. There’s no place I’d rather be right now. Not that the fall was void of art in my life, but there was definitely a settling down and needed pause taking place.

The fall involved working on a major donation, prepping for an art market, and focusing on making Christmas presents. And food. Always food.

Autumn began with a donation of an original painting to the Collins Center’s annual Disco Gala fundraiser.

Autumn Light 32 x 40 | acrylic & plaster on canvas

Autumn Light

32 x 40 | acrylic & plaster on canvas

Next up was a return to the pottery wheel and jewelry bench to prepare for Larkin Arts’ annual Holiday Art Market. I have never participated in a craft fair/art market of any kind, and I enjoyed the challenge of creating a large body of work for sale. However, the introverted part of me had no desire to sit vulnerably with my work for 5 hours and make conversation with strangers.

Over the last few months, I have been working my way through the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking and the author says in the introduction “If there’s only one insight you take away from this book, I hope it’s a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself.” Through many years of being asked if I had ever thought of selling my work at the farmer’s market, X, Y, or Z craft markets, etc, I always wondered what was wrong with me that I didn’t pursue those opportunities, even if it meant making a significant income in a single day. So for what it was worth, I gave it a shot. It may very well be the last. And I’m more than OK with that now.

In December, all efforts turned to Christmas presents. I’ve always been a gift giver and particularly love crafting something byhand with a loved one in mind. A few of the goodies below…

And a few upcycled gifts for my parents.

Earrings for my mom with chain made from the staples used in her pacemaker surgery this fall.

Dad’s sheets (from a hospital stay in Panama 5 years ago) turned rag rug.

And the food. My sweetie cooks me amazing meals all the time that I just cannot compete with. The best I can do is offer up a creative dessert, which has turned out to be just about as fun as making art. And it tastes good. Win win.

A raw pumpkin chocolate “cheesecake” for Thanksgiving and a chocolate beet cake with chocolate avocado icing for Christmas.

The next few months are looking to be another busy time. In the midst of taking several online design classes, I’ll also be participating in Spitzer Art Center’s 6x6x30 show that will open in March at VMRC. For those of you who haven’t heard of this show, all participating artists commit to making one 6×6 inch piece a day for 30 days. I’m cautiously looking forward to this torture.

Last but not least, I’m looking forward to the birth of a dear friend’s baby in February and have been getting crafty. The beginnings of something exciting below…

Kintsukuroi

Kintsukuroi | Ice House Studios | August 2015 | Artist Statement

Kintsukuroi translates to “golden repair” and is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. I first learned about this art form while at a conference for work, where I had the pleasure of hearing Chris Anderson (executive director of Male Survivor) speak and he ended his presentation with a slide depicting a kintsukuroi bowl. The metaphor in the context of his session was beautiful, inspiring, and gave me a renewed energy not only for my professional work at the Collins Center, but also for my art.

I have long believed growth and beauty come along with brokenness or it would otherwise be unbearable. The most interesting and genuine people I’ve ever met have walked through a lot of darkness and managed to find hope amidst it all. Scars share the story of where we have been and what we have lived through, yet so many of them remain invisible. I don’t believe my pain or struggle is unique, but that my experiences share threads that run through all of humanity.

I don’t believe the location of or the unexpected inspiration for this exhibit was an accident. My first experience with Pilates and Breathe came at a particularly hard time in my life when I struggled to find anything positive to focus on. The balance and relationships I gained here during a time I felt incredibly broken have been and continue to be invaluable to my journey.

This exhibit is loosely inspired by kintsukuroi, a love of giving old and discarded things new life, and a strong belief that the acknowledgement and understanding of our paralleled experiences can change the world.

This show is on display at Ice House Studios through the month of August 2015.

Reveal | mixed media on canvas | 20 x 20 | sold

Reveal | mixed media on canvas | 20 x 20 | sold

Release | mixed media on canvas | 16 x 20 | $190

Release | mixed media on canvas | 16 x 20 | $190

Pulse | mixed media on canvas | 12 x 24 | gifted

Pulse | mixed media on canvas | 12 x 24 | gifted

Encompass | mixed media on canvas | 16 x 20 | $190

Encompass | mixed media on canvas | 16 x 20 | $190

Refine | mixed media on canvas | 20 x 20 | gifted

Refine | mixed media on canvas | 20 x 20 | gifted

Protect | mixed media on canvas | 12 x 12 | $125

Protect | mixed media on canvas | 12 x 12 | $125

Emanate | mixed media on canvas | 20 x 20 | $250

Emanate | mixed media on canvas | 20 x 20 | $250

Launch | acrylic, plaster on canvas | 12 x 24 | $150

Launch | acrylic, plaster on canvas | 12 x 24 | $150

Reach | acrylic on canvas | 12 x 12 | sold

Reach | acrylic on canvas | 12 x 12 | sold

Mend | acrylic, thread on canvas | 12 x 24 | sold

Mend | acrylic, thread on canvas | 12 x 24 | sold

Rest | mixed media on canvas | 12 x 12 | $125

Rest | mixed media on canvas | 12 x 12 | $125

Summer Snippets

After a much needed hiatus from creating and overcommitment, I find myself deep in preparation for another show opening in three weeks. When scheduling this show several months ago, I didn’t have any specific ideas in mind, but was confident that something would come along to inspire me in the meantime. I thought it would be my trip to India (more on that later), which may yet inspire something at a later time; instead I found inspiration where I least expected it, at a work conference in Charleston, West Virginia of all places. I had the pleasure of hearing Chris Anderson, the executive director of Male Survivor speak and he ended his presentation with a slide depicting a kintsukuroi bowl. Kintsukuroi translates to golden repair and is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. I have long believed growth and beauty come along with brokenness or it would otherwise be unbearable. The most interesting and genuine people I’ve ever met have walked through a lot of darkness and managed to find hope amidst it all.

This show is inspired by kintsukuroi, as well as my love of giving old, discarded things new life. Join me at the opening at Ice House Studios on Friday, August 7th from 5-8pm, or stop by and take a peek during the rest of the month.

Other art tidbits over the last few months included a piece in the Art on the Square show back in April.

Also, a mural painted at my office in our Child Advocacy Center, that I recruited my coworkers to help with in June.

And finally, an amazing trip to India in May; a few of my favorite shots below.

Treading Quicksand

My family was once playing the game Imaginiff, and this question came up: “Imagine if Rhoda were a popular saying (or something along these lines)…which would she be?” I don’t even recall the other options, because the unanimous choice was “burning the candle at both ends.” There was a time in my life that I may have taken offense to this in some way, but I am able to see it for what it is: the truth. Ah yes, the truth, that which can become so hard to acknowledge when you are up to your ears in it with your eyes closed. If you open them, you may have to face what you see and actually do something about it. I have tricked myself into believing that I can deal with my problems by doing everything but face them.It’s the reason I’ve been immersing myself entirely into art related projects that anyone asks me to do.

Stop one…a custom 40th birthday piece for a friend commissioned by his lovely wife. Awhile back, he had given me all of the old windows from their house and had mentioned he may buy one back eventually if I created something with them. His wife contacted me about a piece and sent me in the right direction with a list of the most important people, places, and activities in his life. Based on this information, I created this piece, which was presented to him at a surprise party over the weekend.

A couple of shots in progress…

Finished piece

Stop two…a mural and donated paintings for the waiting room of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham Department of Social Services building. I work closely with Child Protective Services for my job and am passionate about the work I do to help keep kids safe in our community. So, when one of the social workers asked if I would consider donating some art, I readily agreed. Although let’s be honest, with the state I’m in, it may not matter who asked (just kidding, Travis!).

I spent last Saturday morning painting a wall in the waiting room with some assistance and company from my dad, who is always up for helping out. The second photo shows the other two paintings I donated…the right one re-purposed from an earlier exhibit and the left one created last week to coordinate.

Stop three…my friend who owns Downtown Wine & Gourmet asked me the last week of February if I wanted to hang some of my work in their shop for March First Fridays. There was absolutely no pressure to do anything new, but I have committed to only display new work.

I opted for a photography show, Must Love Hikes, which could in theory, be pulled together somewhat quickly. Enter here an unexpected snowstorm, being car-less for several days, and a general sense of hysteria, all leading to a frantic drive to the FedEx shipping office to pick up the prints, scrambling to assemble the pieces, and delivering them to the shop less than 3 hours before the opening. All 16″ x16″ photos are printed on canvas and mounted behind glass on 24″ x 24″ plywood. The photos will remain at the wine shop through the end of March. I never did get around to writing an artist statement or pricing anything, so if you have any interest in a piece, contact me. Otherwise they will likely be making their way to the Collins Center’s new office.

Old Rag 2.jpg

Stop four…I was excited to be asked to be in a new show coming up in April, Art on the Square, brainchild of talented local photographers, Brandy Somers and John Buller. Have I started on my piece other than the ideas rolling around in my head? Of course not. Will I finish in time? Absolutely. Will I wish I had started earlier? I’m not sure that question will ever be answered for me.

This looks to be a great show – come check it out on April 3rd!

In an effort to slow down and take a much needed look at myself and my life, I can guarantee that if I’m asked to do something in April, the answer will be no. Slowing down and looking inward may be one of the hardest things anyone asks me to do, but I see no other way of moving through.

On that note, I leave you with the first piece of art I’ve created entirely for myself in a very long time.

Embroidery on burlap | 16×20

Embroidery on burlap | 16×20