Just a little less than two years ago, as COVID was making itself known as “the pandemic that was going to stick around”, I challenged myself to make 100 small paintings on paper and mount them on cradled wood panels.
I wanted to teach myself how to translate my small watercolor pieces to a larger format, dreaming that one day I’d be able to create one in massive dimensions. I’d declared a goal of 100 paintings for myself before. It’s one of the practices from my studio that lent me the most growth I’d ever experienced. I knew that even if this project didn’t end up where I intended, I was going to learn more than I could imagine just from creating the sheer volume of work.
I went through several phases as I was creating them – both mentally and stylistically. At one point, I thought I was done with adding collage elements. At another point, I was ready to throw into the towel, thinking, “I’m a grown-up. No one is holding me to this. I don’t have to finish if I don’t want to. Humph.”
Meanwhile I was relearning how to look at art. I was learning how to write about my own art. I was discovering how my art was tied to me, at the deepest level of who I am, and I was diligently working to move my art career forward.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2022. Kaylan Buteyn and Jamie Smith of the Thrive Together Network proposed the idea of Taking Up Space, an initiative designed to encourage and empower women and female identifying artists to take up literal and active space in the world. Simultaneously, Alyson Stanfield of the Art Biz Network was prompting her community members to create self-initiated opportunities in their local orbits. Suddenly, these small works – the 100 Pulp and Panel Poesies – felt like they were providing me with a central theme around which I felt I could build a solo exhibition.
Having participated in a group show curated by Amanda Baker late in 2021, I had a feeling she might dig the idea of a local female artist showing up and taking up space. I approached her with the proposal of creating a solo exhibition based around the Poesies, and my hunch was right – she was immediately on board.
What I had started to observe in these works over time was that they were visual documentations of my inner conversations. These dialogues were based on interactions between my physical and emotional experiences.
Each of the 100 small pieces represents a story of remaining present to my own feelings and sensations while continuing to move forward, even when times were confusing or difficult.
During this time, I also became sensitive to the waste our household was creating – likely because of the increase of deliveries to our doorstep during the pandemic and the resulting excessive packaging. I began making changes around the house, attempting to curb our consumption of disposable goods.
My intentions spilled into the studio and these little mixed media artworks as well.
I began looking for ways to incorporate supplies that were already in my workspace: salvaged yarn and lace from the thrift store, the ecru-hued pages of a dormant sketchbook, old paintings that just didn’t work, scraps from the edges of trimmed panels. . . .
Through those additions, the works gained added layers of texture and thought provoking depth. They seemed to pose questions now, in addition to providing documentation.
The entire exhibition is a dual journey: one through time (early pandemic till present day), and one spanning from our immediate experience of the physical world to the elusive intuitions of our spiritual and emotional spaces. Distilled down to just a few words, it’s art about living life.
I’m thrilled to share that due to such a positive response to the show, the closing date of has now been extended from June 25 to August 8.