Monthly Muse

Armory Week Debrief

I have a pathological hatred for winter but I always look forward to the first weekend in March – Armory Week.

While the goal of the galleries might be to sell as much work as possible, the fairs are a useful resource for artists. The shows are an efficient way to information gather on pricing, display tactics, and the subtle sussing out of potential galleries that one might want to approach later regarding representation.

The fairs are also useful for pure inspiration’s sake.
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“It Takes Forever If You Go By Inertia”

I am the type of person who picks a theme word in January to help keep focused and on task for the year.

Most years the theme is obvious to me and the word comes easy. Not this year. This year I struggled. I think it’s because I’m anticipating a milestone year ahead and I assigned a great weight to the outcome of my word choice. I was feeling so much pressure to choose the “right” word that I paralyzed myself – I couldn’t’ choose any theme at all.

I convinced myself to stop trying to force it, and, in the paradoxical way of the universe, once I stopped looking for it my theme word came to find me.
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Sponge vs. Knife

Addendum: I found the unpublished draft of this post in a folder on my laptop.  I wrote it in April and then squirreled it away to use in the not-too-distant future. Then, like many a squirrel, I forgot where I buried the nut (truthfully, I forgot I even had the nut at all).

Much has evolved since I first penned this, both in my personal life and the world at large. I publish it now, as it seems that a reminder to keep an open and expansive mindset might be welcome at this time.

I love our Long Island City apartment.

Part of that fondness is a result of the fact that my husband and I are the first people to live in the unit; brand new floors, new walls, new sinks, and new appliances. Everything is shiny and perfect. Well…almost.
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Process Is A Road Trip

When you work at your vocation intensely, you develop a deep understanding of your process.

Recognizable habits start to surface and cycles become apparent. You begin to note things, like how you approach and actualize your ideas.

You begin to know what kind of creator you are and how you drive your creativity.
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Persistence Is Fertile

Today I arrived at the studio and felt like I’d hit a wall. I didn’t know how I was going to proceed with the new series.

I was brutally uninspired.

Which flabbergasted me because I’ve been having a crackin’ good time in the studio lately, highly motivated, productive and busting out work that I’m super happy with.

Not today. Today my flow hit a road bump.
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Open Studios 2016: Virtual Redux

April showers brought May flowers…and May, of course, brought the Long Island City Arts Open Festival.

Last year I went all in, participating as much as I could in all the ways that were available: silent auction, group exhibits, even volunteering a bit of my time as admin support.

This year I had to make the tough decision to scale back my involvement so that I could fulfill a commitment I made to myself in January – to debut a wall full of brand new work at the Open Studios weekend.

Work in progress - ready enough to be put into frames and viewed!

Work in progress – ready enough to be put into frames and viewed! Curious about the empties?  I worked on two pieces during the open studios and managed to fill one of the frames by the end of the weekend.

For those of you who were unable to make it to the festival itself (or ran out of time to see all the things!) I’ve curated some photos and put together a virtual open studio.
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Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Otherwise titled: “When Saying “No” to a Perfectly Good Opportunity is the Right Thing to Do”.

In the past month I have turned down what might seem, to the outsider, to be two perfectly good opportunities.

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The Best Worst Thing

In my February newsletter I revealed my latest passion – drawing and painting on Dura-lar. The week after the newsletter published I went into the studio and noticed this:
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New Year’s Revelation

Some folks like to start off the New Year with a big, shiny resolution.  Personally, I’m not keen on resolutions.  I’d rather spend my time doing some inwardly focused planning and uncover a New Year’s revelation.
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Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em

Or in this particular case, know when to fix it, know when to nix it.

I have a pretty tenacious “never say die” attitude and, thanks to my proud Scottish heritage, a fairly benevolent Level of Broken-ness Scale that I refer to when confronted with holey clothing, damaged tools and faulty electronics.
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Can It Be Wrong If It Feels So Write?

Lately I’ve been weighing options linked to the next stage of my practice.  I am circling ever closer to the notion of grad school – getting past the awkward shy stage of a first idea and taking steps that make the concept of acquiring my MFA more than, ahem, conceptual.

So far I’ve been to three info/tour sessions and I’ve registered for another three in the coming months.

I’m finding the sessions incredibly valuable – and not just for logistics gathering like cost and program structure. Tours are an opportunity to try on the vibe of a place and see if it’s my size.
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Confession From A Middle-aged Artist

I don’t enjoy networking.

There, I said it.

I have a tendency to avoid openings and gallery events (note to young artists – I don’t recommend this, it puts a big cramp in your ability to foster a sense of a community).
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How I Spent This Summer

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The temperature hasn’t cooled off much, but as we edge ever closer to Labor Day I know it’s almost over – soon summer will be a sweet, distant memory.

With the academic year just around the corner it seems fitting that I write a “How I Spent This Summer” post (the verb “spent” being apropos, as summer days are such precious currency).
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If You Go to a Gallery LOOK at the Art!

When I was thirty I had the good fortune to be in Paris, wandering starry-eyed through the Picasso Museum.

As I was standing in front of a piece, absorbed in the painting, I noticed a woman walking quickly through the gallery, a video camera aimed at the walls.  She breezed around the perimeter of the room and then moved on to the next room and did the same.
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Arty Books and Docs That Rock

I love reading biographies and watching documentaries – any narrative that gives the back-story on the experiences and processes that make a person, place, or thing is so fascinating to me.

My favorite subcategory within these genres, not surprisingly, is creative.
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Hot Town, Summer In The City

Solstice is just around the corner and there have already been a few steamy days in June, hinting at the sweltering New York summer to come.

I’m an August baby with very fond summer vacation memories but I’m also a typical ginger: extremely pale and sun-sensitive…crispy-fried-from-the-sunlight-vampire-skin-sensitive. UV exposure aside, I simply don’t function well above 84F.

Keeping that in mind, I’m starting to plan my Summer Studio Strategy.
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Force Majeure

A year ago I wrote about the perils of being too comfortable and how that can affect one’s motivation and growth.

Well, after 12 months of leaning into some terrific – and sometimes uncomfortable – growth, the universe must think I am still wa-a-a-y too comfortable in my current situation.  An extra dash of force majeure has been thrown into the mix.
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Stacked

This is what my proposed annual timeline looked like for this year – all nicely spaced over the twelve months so that I could function like a normal, sane person:

Proposed Timeline
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The Secret (Second) Life of My Art

In case you hadn’t noticed, my surname is MacDonald and I am a pure (make sure you roll that “r”) Scot.  I love me some prudent frugality.

When I was 15 I talked my mom into giving me a clothing allowance so that I could buy clothes on my own.  I figured out pretty darn quick that I could buy more (and more interesting) articles of clothing from the Sally Ann than at the trendy shops.  Since then I’ve bought most of my clothing from second hand or consignment stores.

Likewise, whenever possible, I’ve always sourced and used recycled materials for my artwork.

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Getting To Know You

It occurred to me that while all the pieces I create have detailed narratives, in my 8 plus years of blogging I haven’t voiced the finer points of my own narrative; the story of how I came to be the artist I am, making the work I currently make.

I thought it might be fun to share a bit of personal mythology with you.
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Ladies And Gentlemen, In This Performance The Part Of The Lion Will Be Played By January

[Cue orchestra. Raise curtain.]

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. A long while.

Mostly it’s been due to the frenzy of a new year.  Trying to line up those ducks, catch those greased pigs, herd those cats…

I could go on, but I think you know where I’m coming from.

In a word, the start of the year was FRUSTRATING. I’m seriously hoping I can apply the idiom “in like a lion, out like a lamb” to 2015.
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Getting My NYC Legs

Transitioning from working at an in-home studio to an out-of-home studio has been interesting.

There has been a learning curve.  Oh my, yes, has there ever.

Which, to be honest, caught me off guard, as I have had prior experience working in out-of-home, communal studios before (Dynamo, and Emily Carr University).  Guess I got so used to the creature comforts of working in-home that I didn’t realize I had forgotten how to function like a person with an out-of-home job.
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Cocooning

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…you might be thinking that New York has swallowed me whole.

Not to worry.

Even though it does feel as though I’ve been scooped up and held in the mouth of the beast, I haven’t been chewed up…yet, and, fingers crossed, I won’t be spit out.
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TFF in NYC

Our temporary New York home is smack dab in the middle of tourist central, and most of the people schlepping the surrounding streets are decked out in tourist garb: travel-easy t-shirts and shorts. It wasn’t until I had been in New York for two weeks that I finally witnessed some Truly Fabulous Fashion.
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