Artist in Residence Completion and Summer Plans

I delivered the commissioned Happiness = Our Nature Playground artwork to the Montessori School of Lake Forest last Friday. I met with the students of the families who commissioned the artwork and they helped me finalize the artwork which included:

  • nailing down the staples I used to attach the artwork to the stretched canvas frame
  • nailling on the mat board to cover the back of the stretched canvas
  • nailling on a sawtooth hanger
  • putting double-sided tape on the label to put onto the back of the artwork on the mat board
  • helping me put double-sided foam tape on the wall label so it can adhere to the wall next to the artwork.

I got to show them how to use a hammer in a gentle way to not warp the canvas frame. Pretty cool. I wanted them to know that artwork is not just about the painting or the sewing in my case. To finalize artwork it takes many more steps before you present it to the client.

Happiness = Our Nature Playground, May 2018. Commissioned by three families at Montessori School of Lake Forest as a donation to the school.

Lastly, we wrapped the artwork in butcher paper with blue and white bakery twine. We presented the art to my friend Julia who works at the school. As we were about to unwrap the artwork outside, we saw a great blue heron fly right by us over the grassland next to their property. Yet another special moment spent in their nature playground.

The major elements of this custom artwork are the two tall trees with the diagonal yellow line for their tree swing on the left, the creek and frog pond in the middle, the grey fort leaning against the tree on the right with the horizon line of grasses and trees topped with a sunrise. The best part was when each child explained to Julia their favorite section of the artwork. One student loves bright colors and explained the sunrise colors with the brown of the tree line and the tan for the grasses at the horizon. Another student loved the brown of the trees where they kick off to go higher on their swing which is shown with the yellow diagonal line as if they were ready to swing back into the artwork frame. One student showed Julia the grey triangle fort with its stash of redwood sticks at the bottom. Another student showed the creek and the frog pond running through the property because that is what he made for his torn construction paper project. One student was not able to be there for the last part but she loved running in the playground on the trails. The students hit all the major elements of the artwork without me even discussing the major elements we should tell Julia about.

I felt a big sense of accomplishment presenting the artwork to the staff. At first, getting input from 5 children seemed intimidating to me at the beginning of the project. Little did I know that they would bring me into their world and help me see their playground through their eyes. All the information I learned from interviewing the students was included in an EcoMemory report for the school and parents along with photos of their torn construction paper artwork, my color palette and my design decisions for the final artwork.

This whole Artist in Residence experience has been a joy. I am grateful to every one who made it possible. The staff has been so open-minded and creative in starting an Artist in Residence program for their students.  I love being surrounded by smart people who think outside of the box to be creative and try new ideas. That is what this Montessori School of Lake Forest is all about. You can read more about the entire Artist in Residence process HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

As for me in the studio, I am currently working on two more EcoMemory commissions over the summer. But I do have openings for commissions starting this Fall. If you are interested and would like some more information about the process, just send me an email and we can talk.  

I am doing something different this summer with my Studio Notes blog and Instagram. Since I have 2.5 years of weekly articles, I decided to delve into my archive files and revisit some of my favorite articles and add in some written updates. Similarly, on Instagram I am posting some of my Favorite Daily Squares from the Every Day Project correlating to the weekly Studio Notes theme. Hope you enjoy them!