To be able to travel, paint and teach art has been a goal of mine for quite some time.
So being invited to teach art in Maui at the Hui No’Eau is truly a dream come true.
Just a few months after moving to the Big Island of Hawaii last year, I was contacted by Hui No’Eau to come teach my workshops there as a visiting island artist. The school is a nonprofit, community art school in Maui, situated on one of the historic Baldwin estates. It has a view of Haleakala to one side and the distant coast to the other side. It’s upcountry, surrounded by rolling hills, lush vegetation and meadows. The school itself is set on 22 acres with a variety of buildings for arts and craft disciplines. The main gallery shows work by contemporary artists and the classes are well attended.
Yes.. it’s real. I taught my first workshop this weekend at Hui No’Eau called Tropical Expressions using Watercolor and Collage. It was a full class and so much fun to teach. Sharing my knowledge and inspiring others to tap into their creativity is truly my ultimate dream. Next weekend I teach abstract painting using acrylics on paper.
During the week my plan is to reconnect with island friends and paint, paint and paint. Maui is first island of the Hawaiian islands that I visited and first island I loved. The Big Island is where my soul lives now but Maui is still one fabulous place to visit.
As far as I’m concerned it’s never too early to prepare for an art show. Even though it’s still just May, and I have a full month to get ready for my show at the end of June, I hate panicking prior to an exhibit doing last minute preparation. Along with this show, I am also planning on relocating to Hawaii later this summer. Simply put, I am in the midst of a big project that includes packing, storing, and choosing which possessions to keep, ship, sell, or let go of. Getting ready to move 6000 miles away is quite a process!
Matting and framing art
I narrowed down which paintings that I want to show, choosing to exhibit my watercolor landscapes for my painting group’s show Nature Calls in New Haven. Of course watercolors need mats and frames. I hadn’t cut mats in a while, but I warmed up after cutting several mats using my trusty Logan mat cutter. The first few attempts were rejects but I got the hang of it after awhile. A jaunt to Ikea was in order to pick out some more of the neutral silver frames I like. Now I’m feeling more or less ready to show in June, and am delighted to see how my watercolors look matted and framed. They were gems already, but behind glass and framed, they look stunning. Hope some of you get to see the show opening June 26th in the New Haven Public Library, Ives Gallery.
Preparing mats and frames for the New Haven Public Library Ives Gallery show Nature Calls, opening June 26th with my painting group The Calm.
Ok, ok already! I have finally taken the plunge and decided to embrace social media beyond just Facebook. Even though I’m a 10 year fb veteran, I am now sharing my art regularly and connecting with other creatives primarily on Instagram, and secondly on Twitter. It’s been a toss up as to which platform to embrace. I mean after all, who has that much time to delve into the cyber world for hours each day? Wouldn’t you rather be painting or pursuing your bliss in the real world? Although I do admit to being somewhat passionate about connecting online and social media has proven a superb way to stay connected with dear friends. “Likes” are fun to get and new followers do give a slight adrenaline rush.
I did a bit of research and found from other artists that Instagram wins hands down as the best platform to go with. And it really does make sense. Instagram is after all a visual platform and it’s where art fans and artists like to hang out. It’s also not limited to the 140 character post, so I can describe my art in more detail if I want, or comment on someone else’s art.
I intend to share my process more and record the steps I take making my art. Today, for example, I spent hours just framing watercolors for an art show coming up in June. Watercolors take on a new meaning altogether when they are matted, framed, and set behind glass. They become more of the gems that they already are!
For front row seats check me out:
Digging through my past art work this week, I uncovered some hidden gems. I found a group of small abstract paintings that I painted while traveling in Europe after art school. I have been revisiting abstraction in my art lately and it is a timely thing to rediscover the direction I had been going with my abstract painting. I have gained some new ideas, insights land inspiration from observing my own artwork. What a blessing! I am so thankful to my younger self.
This past month has been a trip down memory lane. My parents were both artists and big believers in never throwing anything out, at least as far as artwork goes. As a result I have held onto plenty of paintings, drawings, and sketchbooks. Some date back to highschool or earlier. Needless to say, I have stacks of paintings, drawings and mountains of sketchbooks.
However, my parents’ house where I have stored my art, has been sold. I need to either take my artwork with me, place it in storage, sell it or throw it away. Thus, I have taken on the task of taking inventory of all my art. I have photographed nearly three hundred of my paintings and drawings, as well as titled them, noted the medium and recorded their sizes.
This has been an amazing process. It has helped me organize my art and eliminate artwork that no longer needs to be saved. It stimulated me to convert my website to a marketing site, so now I am able to sell my artwork to friends and fans who have always wanted to own my art. I dropped my prices and I have been selling more of my art. It’s rewarding to know they are going to people who have followed my career as an artist for a long time. My aspiration has always been to inspire others through art. It’s wonderful to know they are going to homes where they will be much appreciated.
I have also had the pleasure of tracing my path and observing my growth and stylistic changes. My artwork is a record of my life starting in high school, spanning through art school, my years living in San Francisco, my job as a waitress, views from cafes in the Mission district, hikes in Marin, Oakland hills, travels down the Pacific coast, as well as my journeys to Brazil, Europe, Asia, my master’s thesis, and my recent trip to India. Indeed, these sketches and paintings are the journal of my life.
What a gift that I can gaze back on this visual record of an amazing, adventure filled life. Not all moments were happy. My paintings also reflect lonely times and emotional struggles. It’s just that it’s all there to view. This has been an opportunity to gaze back on the past with an eye on the future, and note that my art always mirrors the present.