View from Seaside Heights Boardwalk

After I created my first EcoMemory piece for my geology professor Dr. Palmquist, "Partridge Point in Lake Superior” (Read about it HERE), I wondered what would be my next step. I thought, who really gets my abstract landscape art. I immediately thought of Jackie Skarritt. Click HERE to see her Instagram Page. We have been Instagram friends for a few years and she always would comment so insightfully on both design issues and color palette. She would highlight the complicated designs or the teeniest little piece of fabric that I had inserted and thought no one would notice. But Jackie noticed, and would comment about it on Instagram. She would look at my Clouds series and say she looked up at the sky and it was exactly like what she saw in a recent daily square from that Clouds series. I knew that we saw the world in similar ways. So next step, I direct messaged her in Instagram and asked if I could call her about a project I had in mind.

She could not have been more gracious. We talked for an hour and found out we have many things in common. 

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An Island in Lake Superior

In the Fall of 2017,  I had this idea to create art inspired by special places in nature. In my mind, this sounded like a great idea to help people reconnect to how they feel in nature. The art would tap into people's memories of time spent in nature. But I was not sure how to actually do it. Whatever it was going to actually be, I decided to call the process an EcoMemory Experience.

We were visiting our college alma mater, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in November of 2017 as we brought our youngest child on a college visit to check it out and I knew we were visiting with my favorite professor for coffee. This coincidence got me thinking. When I was a student, my professor Dr. Palmquist and I did field work for this project on a small rock island right off the shore in Lake Superior near Marquette, Michigan. I never forgot the beauty of the lake and those gorgeous dark rocks with pink mineral veins (in geology called dikes). So, a week before our trip,  I just started pulling fabric and cutting it up and sewing it back together again. I made my first EcoMemory artwork for my favorite Geology Professor based on my Senior Honors Geology Project. I captured the feeling in this piece entitled "Partridge Point in Lake Superior."  I presented the artwork to Dr. Palmquist  and this is what he had to say about it.

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What I Learned about Imagination from my Students

Phase One of my Winter Artist in Residence at a local  Montessori school finished last week. This phase consisted of workshops for two different age groups: primary children (ages 3-6 years old) with their parents and the elementary school kids (6-9 years old) by themselves. I created this workshop specific for this school and age groups. The workshop is called Connect to Nature through Art where we discuss thinking about your favorite place in nature, remembering how it makes us feel and then using our imagination to create art showing this special place.  I taught them how to tear construction paper into small pieces and glue the pieces onto a larger sheet of thick watercolor paper as their canvas.

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My State of the Union 2018

In previous editions of my Studio Notes, I’ve talked about having a period of self reflection to think about what went well last year and what not so well. Then I use that information to decide what I want to focus on for 2018. Remember,  this is very personal and obviously specific to me. I thought about not even including this in my blog. But I realized when you read about other people doing this kind of pondering exercise, it makes you, the reader, reflect on what you would choose as what went well and what did not go well and hopefully, what are your goals for this upcoming year. So, I include my State of the Union as an example for you to think about the possibilities.

 I was inspired by Paul Jarvis's State of the Union in his weekly newsletter to write my own.  I’ve written about Paul Jarvis before and have followed his work for years.  His honesty and humor gave me a good example to follow. I find this high level bird's eye view of the past year very helpful because sometimes you get so caught up in the every day routine, you don’t take the time to step back and see what has happened in the past year for good or bad.

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Winter Artist in Residence

Recently, I started thinking about where do people who love nature hang out. Thinking about this idea sparked another idea about being an Artist in Residence at a nature center. I could make art at that location and be surrounded by people who appreciate nature and actively seek to spend more time in nature. I thought about people I knew who could help me think more about this idea. I have a friend who I went to summer camp with as a child in Maine who lives in my local area. She works as the Outdoor Classroom Director for the local Montessori school. (How cool is that title!) So Montessori schools place a lot of emphasis on nature and being outdoors year round.  This particular facility is fortunate enough to have a wetlands, prairie and woods on their property for their students.

My friend and I met a few times to talk about the possibilities and now I am the Winter Artist in Residence at the school for the next month. T

 

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New Year New Theme

This new year of 2018 has brought some changes to my art practice. I am trading in the daily squares from the Every Day Project for weekly EcoMemory larger pieces. This shift in my thinking started last fall when I decided most of my Every Day Project series are based on nature like the Forest and Clouds series. I realized when I thought about how I felt in nature and the emotions from those places in nature and then translated that into my art, the effect was a lot more powerful. This is the beauty of Instagram when you get instant feedback on your artwork. This idea of the emotional power behind the art coupled with my desire to make my art personal for clients and really serve my clients would lead me to a new idea, EcoMemory commissions. 

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Coral Reefs Update

I completed sewing the 25 daily squares of the Coral Reef series on Sunday. The final piece is in My Shop. 

Here is how I describe it. Imagine the feeling of swimming underwater and seeing the coral reef healthy, colorful and full of life. This is the feeling I evoke with the Coral Reef series. This series is inspired by the documentary Chasing Coral. The documentary is available on Netflix and is a wonderful movie to watch with family over the holidays. If you are curious about how I make each piece, I sew all the daily squares in consecutive order from Day 1 to 25 into one big square and then wrap that around a 24 in.² stretched canvas frame. The impact of the blues for the water in the top row and the natural colors for the sand on the bottom row are a little subtle because of the edges being wrapped around the stretch canvas frame. But there are enough little hints of the water blue and sand color that I’m still pleased with the outcome. The Coral Reef series is now for sale my website. Click HERE to see he finished piece in my shop. 

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Imagine Standing In A Forest Looking Up Update

Last week I finished sewing together the Forest. It has become one of my favorites because this series taught me about the power of emotion evoked by the art and the idea behind the art.  As I state in the article below, "Art evokes an emotion. Then what does this Forest series say? The calm greens and blues remind you of the peace you feel in nature as you are standing in the forest yourself." Consistent with my new way of presenting my art, I wrapped the sewn pieces around a stretched canvas frame.  Since this was a larger piece, I was not quite sure how it would turn out. Happily, it all worked out. The Forest is now for sale on my website just in time for holiday gift giving. If you know someone who loves to be among trees and feel that calming presence, consider giving them the gift of original art. 

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Yearly Review and Friday Question Conversations

It is this that time again. December is my month to think about what went well this past year and what did not go well. I wrote about this last year in the article, Why do an Annual Review? This review and planning time is like a combination of a spa and brainstorming session smashed together. Everyone needs to feel relaxed to come up with good creative ideas. So I’m going to be figuring out that balance over the next month of December.

Another question I’ve been asking myself is how do I want to spend my time? One of my favorite creative business guys Paul Jarvis posed this question in one of his newsletters. His idea is to figure out this question and work backwards as to the kind of things you want to do to fill your day. Play to your strengths and focus on those type of activities. You will do them better anyway than forcing yourself to do something you do not really even want to do. These guiding questions will help me figure out my 2018 focuses.

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Power of Gratitude

Most people have heard by now about the power of gratitude. It’s almost a cliché. People say "Yeah, Yeah. I know I should write a gratitude list or be grateful for all the good things that I have in my life. " As with all ideas that become clichés, there is a profound truth embedded in them.

When we live in a state of gratitude you begin to see the good all around you. When you start looking for the good around you, you see even more and more good in your life.  The power of gratitude is that it appears to magnify the good in your life. Perhaps the good in your life has always been there and it’s a question of seeing and acknowledging it

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