Process

chair

Exploration – it’s the thing that drives me to paint every day.  So I find it kind of funny that my work is done best when spending hours cozied up in the home!

bundle

Snuggled up at the bay window with a cup of coffee, I start my mornings by diving into a painting.  By the time the sun has warmed up my room and the coffee has grown cold, I open up the window and breath in some fresh air.  I grab a bowl of breakfast – usually Greek yogurt smothered in cinnamon and something fruity and nutty – and hop back to work.

elisabeth

I definitely don’t paint as much as I would like to, but it is this routine that keeps me up to practice and developing my ability to express myself as a painter.  Here I remind myself, exploring is wonderful, but self-exploration has great value, and can be done anywhere!

 

 

Play time!

My first gif!

My first gif!

I took a few months vacation from the internet, although I can’t say it was exactly by choice…

This summer went by crazily fast, and I got pretty wrapped up in the madness.  Kevin and I moved twice in a month (tales of which I will be recounting very soon, in illustrative format!) and I secured an extra job which I am SO excited about, figure-modeling for an established painter in San Francisco.  And finally, I had to make an terribly heart-wrenching visit home to Florida to attend the funeral of my beloved Grandmother.  Like I said, a whirlwind – a lot of ups and downs, but Grandma’s passing has put a lot of things into perspective, and I have never felt stronger about pursuing a career as a painter.

Grandma and Papa

Grandma and Papa

I parted ways with my family, leaving behind a quick pen and pencil sketch of one of my favorite pictures of my Grandparents. My Grandma was a such a beautiful woman, so full of love and so perfectly pragmatic! And damn, was she sharp – what a wit!

seals

I have been playing around a lot on photoshop and Kevin’s Wacom Tablet, and learning a bit of coding recently.  I am excited to keep updating my progress of experimentation with digital media!  I have always been a more hands-on type of person, and I like to get a little dirty when I’m making, but this small-space living has gotten me interested in working with something a little more compact.  Tune in later for more!

I hope everyone is doing well, and love you all!

Toodles!

Mae

ode to the sun

Springtime is upon us, and the San Francisco weather is certainly playing its part! I love the movement of the city,  a breezy balance of the cool ocean and the heat of the sun. At night you can often hear the wind whipping through the streets; impossibly audible and at times frightening, a fascinating force of nature.  And though it says it’s 56 degrees outside, I have walked barefoot in the ocean in a flowing sleeveless dress until sunset, sandwiched by the warm sand and the sun’s rays.  Everyone is moving – but not too fast. It feels good to be here, and I am anxious to learn more about the city, the people, the landscape, and to get my paint on!!!

That being said, I haven’t updated my doodle page recently and they’ve really been building up. In order are a collection from my newest baby mixed-media journal.

I hope to dig out a few more once I unpack a bit more – I’ve been so excited moving into such an diverse, iconic city and jumping right into working and exploring, I’m embarrassed to say that my suitcase is still half unpacked…

So far I’ve been to work, to my SO’s office downtown, the beach and around my own neighborhood of Inner Richmond. If anyone has suggestions on day-tripping and adventure locations, please let me know! I personally am overwhelmed by the options (typical Libra) and am having a difficult time deciding what to do first.

I took a hike to see the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday. My camera in hand, I walked along 2 miles of cliffs and sandy shores through wild jasmine and honeysuckle and basil. The cool wind carried fresh air and the smell of salt and barnacles and all sorts of floral fragrances in a mellifluous serenade to my nose. I walked up a particularly steep path to capture some prime shots and picnic on an apple and some hard, slightly salty aged cheese, a perfect pairing for the day.

To anyone in the Bay Area, I highly recommend checking out these paths that are offered all throughout the Presidio neighborhood. What a spectacular view of the city, and such a great (AND FREE!!!) way to enjoy the day!

For now I’m off to work, and am eager to learn more about food science. Happy Spring to you all!

– Mae

Championing the Winter Pickles

A few recent watercolors hung at my favorite local coffee shop.

A few recent watercolors hung at my favorite local coffee shop.

Ahhhh, the sublimity of very few obligations! The holidays are over, and with a big cup of coffee and the day free I reflect on time and its oscillating relationship with the senses. The breath of my slumbering significant other sets a soothing rhythm to the pace of my thought-translation. A warm light peeks through the blinds. It is the perfect setting to construct my goals for the New Year.

I would hate to say goodbye to the year with a recap of the past December, however. It was a busy month of completing holiday commissions as well as crafting my own Xmas treats for friends and family (pickles, pet portraits, floral crowns and sugar scrubs, DIY recipes for future postings!), tiring albeit joyous, each day jam-packed with activity in between a busy holiday work schedule and an hour-long  bicycle commute to my beautiful new abode. I feel lighter with each ride and see a new energy in the work that I have been doing. I wonder whether this increase in productivity is the influence of my NYC visit, where one is faced with a certain excitement each day and the necessity of better time-management. There is something about the shift into colder weather, also, which drives me to keep moving for fear of staying cold! While this particularly warm Floridian December resulted in only 5 or so days of sub 80 degree weather, I cherished each one dearly and drank enough hot tea to make up for the rest of the year!

Whatever the influence was, I had an incredible month of creating, giving, and experiencing, and feel this may be a precursor for what is to come in 2014. I wish the same to you all! Happy Festivus, everyone!

– Mae

a field guide to hosting art parties

it is late spring and the studio i work in is at it’s best; the garage door open, air fluxing in from breezes carried by the sea 100 miles away. it’s early evening and the sun casts a hazy orange glow and shadows are tinged with the teals and purples of the vintage glass windows.  i am on the brink of finishing a project for a friend and colleague’s awesome zine published in my very own orlando! i make a celebratory bowl of my favorite kale dish and plopp satisfactorily on the couch, enjoying this rare occasion of blissful fl weather.

wearhouse studio lounging

wearhouse studio lounging

i can’t say exactly what happens next, but i’m sure it is magic of sorts – there’s a really fantastic ted talk describing something like it by elizabeth gilbert and i think it has to do with the magic lighting and the steady determination i have been putting into this project and the projects previous to the point where i have literally used up all of the pages in my sketch book, deriving a feeling similar to the one you get when you check off every item on your to-do list for the day (which i have never experienced, but i bet it would be amazing!) or the incredible relief of cleaning out your entire email inbox. i close my eyes and appreciate the incredible beauty i have found in my friends and surroundings that have inspired me for so long, curious and excited for whatever comes next.

the answer is almost obvious now… i needed to host an art-show… or to be precise, an ART PARTY! some next-level shit! for nearly two years i had been working on personal paintings, sketches and mixed-media pieces inspired by my life growing up in central florida, a random mix of native flora, fauna, themes (heat, dreams of anything other than flatlands…) and childlike wonder and curiosity. the paintings and ideas had been stacking up for a while, as i participated in almost-daily miniature art parties of my own – working on projects with my neighbors, friends and studio-mates over a variety of teas, coffees and other stimulating goods. it was high-time to get organized, rally people together and host not only a gallery but an event in which people could choose to actively participate in artistic creation themselves.

show6

while i had hidden behind the idea of hosting a show for a long time due, mostly due to fear and laziness, the show is now two months past and went incredibly well! with a few months to vaguely plan and get the event out in the open, a few weeks devoted to brainstorming with a team of friends and fellow creative individuals, and a few days to build the necessary display panels with said amazing individuals, we brought people together to explore art and creativity on a visual and tactile level! it was awesome!

i was thinking about the very tiny disposable income that many of us have as creatives with a day-job (or two), and i thought it may be of some use to share my super-cheap, pretty simple, home-made display board recipe to those who are looking to host an art party or gallery of their own, or for those who may want to display their work at a craft fair or farmers market, but don’t have a hundred bucks to throw on a professional display panel. i was fortunate enough to only need to make one panel per wall due to an odd series of plywood fixtures framing the space i was working with, allowing me to hang each panel without any added crutch. for those working in a space where panels could be rested against the wall, you can easily attach one wooden beam to either side of your panel, rather than my one beam in the center. if you are looking to make something that will stand alone, triple the recipe and attach each to the others’ corners. voila! i hope this proves helpful!

ingredients (makes 1 panel)

  • 1 long wooden beam, 6 – 7 feet seems like a pretty solid height ( i just found some scrap wood laying around the studio; you can probably hit up your local hardware store or any random business with pallets lying around – try and get this one for free though! you can recycle, save money, and you don’t support cutting down as many trees!)
  • 1 tool kit, more importantly hammers, drills, and nails that won’t slip through your mesh wiring once they’re attached to the wooden beams
  • thick, linen or canvas fabric, about 2.5 yards or enough to drape over and attach to your panel
first step

first step

first, you need to measure and lay out your fabric. i chose to use white, because that’s what was laying around. i really think the dirt that formed on the panel thereafter was a charming addition to my rustic mixed media pieces – but if you prefer a less grungy look, you can perform this step on a less dirty surface like a tarp or clean floor. you can also avoid this problem altogether by being classy and using a black fabric. fold your fabric over the top of your hardware fabric, making sure to leave enough room below to full cover the wooden beam.

step 2

step 2

next, you or an awesome friend will drill or nail the wooden beam to the hardware fabric. the two should be attached top to top, and continue to drill mesh to wood until the mesh comes to its end. flip onto the fabric, mesh-side down, and make a final attachment of fabric-to-hardware fabric-to wood beam by folding that excess fabric over top.

step 3

step 3

so close to completion! all that’s left are a few minor adjustments. brush a little of that dirt off the fabric, drape and pin corners, and make that cheap-ass display board all your own! there are tons of ways to make fixtures from that wire backing, and i encourage experimentation and playfulness to find what works for you! with a few pieces of scrap wire and a leveling app on your phone, you can get your pieces up in no time!

four panels later...

a couple panels later…

tada! your art is ready for display. for as little as $9 – $14 per panel, and spending about 20 minutes working on each, i think it came out pretty rad! i hope this tutorial proved handy, and i will certainly be sharing more diy tips and experiences concerning art parties to come. and if you guys have any ideas on how to improve the design, or gallery-hosting experiences of your own, sharing is caring yo. feel free to comment below!

here are a few pictures of the resulting art party. in our newly remodeled garage space the wine flowed, thanks to the graciousness of sheila at jimenez designs, and guests were welcome to pour themselves a glass and check out the miniature gallery. outside, the party was hopping with a double screening of daisies and some wild russian film my friend and associate had on his laptop at the time, as well as a table assigned for creative expression! a few days earlier, i had spray painted a few old and damaged canvases over with a white coating, almost good as new –  paired with an assortment of wine, paints, and a few other stimulants, what resulted were works of some incredibly fun, honest and free spirited art. i am constantly amazed by people!

to view the full album of my art party by my really fantastic friend and photographer kevin ohr, check out this link. once you’ve reached that link, forget about my art party pictures! check out the rest of his work, it’s freaking awesome! and as always, hope your day is going well. if it’s not, try and make someone smile! it will go 100% uphill from there.

– mae

crossing boundaries

i have a tendancy to state the obvious. within these statements, however, i intend much more complexity. i have been realizing more and more that these complexities are not getting across due to the obvious nature of these statements. basically, i’m not much of a verbal communicator and people are generally not mind-readers. how much i would like this to change!
to my disadvantage, it seems that the only way to overcome this communication barrier is… practice. for so long i have taken the role as quiet observer, content in the attempt to understand humankind from a objective perspective. through a lifelong practice of non-judgement i have developed unfaltering love, acceptance, awe and compassion for all people! yet i sense a feeling of apprehension in many of my interactions and it is undoubtedly due to this fence i have created as the observer. i am in turn observed as being spacey and detached, disinterested, and even dumb among other things. i have tried not to allow this to bother me, pushing it aside, distracted by my interest in the strange, beautiful and ever-changing life around me. one of these days i mean to break this barrier, i tell myself, whenever the thought arises. it’s just not the right time. there’s too much beauty to observe. too much work, too much to paint. excuse after excuse. to be truthful, i am simply, unjustifiably AFRAID. afraid for my ego. afraid to make a fool of myself, afraid to try hard enough to get grasp the words explaining my thoughts and feelings. these are important! there are so many good intentions! all withheld from these people i supposedly love so much, purely for my own comfort. while i hear myself state it in my head, it is easily justified and set aside for a later date. writing this down, i etch it more deeply into my heart and soul. CONNECT. TRY HARDER. EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!
today this haunt was reinforced by an old friend, who i met up with this afternoon for an unplanned lunch date. we had not seen each other in almost 5 years, and i was honestly nervous to make the re-connection, almost to the point of passing up the opportunity. but i cannot let my weaknesses define me, and who knows why i thought it would be so scary in the first place? the date was fun and relaxed, and i was incredibly happy to be in his presence again. we discussed our lives, our loves, our feelings on travel and people and art. he spoke about a recent, solo trip to europe, and how he wished he had been able to share the experience with another person. we discussed our shared, unnecessary fears of meeting people and the nervousness we feel before hanging out with them. and he pushed me to break out of my element to find true happiness in the beauty of shared experiences, rather than solely observing others’ shared happiness from a distance.
i hope to pursue this as my next creative endeavor. perhaps a series of writings and paintings based on discussions and experiences with friends and strangers. wish me luck! if successful, this could truly change my life and i hope the lives of others in a positive way!
may you, too, realize the possible barriers holding you back from true happiness, and conquer your fears!
-maegan