Art show and live painting at Downtown Presbyterian

This Friday during the South Main Trolley Art Tour, I will be showing some works at Downtown Presbyterian Church and doing a live painting.

Friday 6p-9p
Downtown Presbyterian
525 South Main St.
(next to Ernestine and Hazel's)
parking is going to be trickier with the music festival, but you should be able to find a free spot in the South Main area.

On a related note, I was concerned about whether or not this Friday would be a good art night what with the music festival and all, but I picked up the current issue of the Memphis Flyer. There is a lot of good art openings happening tonight. I think it will be an excellent night, but i would advise you to try to detour around the Beale and Union area of downtown. That's going to be very congested.

Now if i could just make up my mind about what I'm going to paint tomorrow night.

See you there,


Nearing completion - Cross #8 16"x20"

Cross #8 (almost completed) - acrylic - 16" x 20" - $170 plus shipping if required

I've got another of my another of my popular cross paintings nearly finished. These tend to sell pretty quickly if you're interested. I sold one in Dec and another as recently at the end of March. I try to keep one in stock at all times. This puppy brings home the bacon so I can buy more paint and other supplies for new concepts and paintings.


This Year I'm going Pro

That's right. I'm going Pro. Not in football or some other sport, but as an artist. Ok, I'm not quitting my day job, it's not that drastic or daring. But at least I've now got corporate sponsorship - sorta. I just signed on for the largest painting I've ever done. Two 4 ft by 6 ft canvases combined to create one massive painting. I'm going to need a bigger easel (hah, when i read this i think of "you're going to need a bigger boat"). I ordered the custom canvas yesterday, and will be placing an order with cheapjoes.com for other supplies soon.

Not Alone – proposed set for a grief counseling center for children. This is just a rough sketch.

Also in the "i cant believe im doing this" art news, I'm working on a children's book with 2 very talented writers based on my "To Send a Prayer" series. The thing is. I have to create like 15 new paintings at a size that is better suited for the book's layout. In 4-6 months, I should be able to sell you a book that I illustrated. Crazy! 

I have one of my 12"x36" paintings that I sold through Facebook and need to ship to.... wait for it... Sierra Madre, CA. Does that make me a nationally known artist?  ;)   - Update, so I went to Fedex at the suggestion of Deeann Rieves who ships her work all the time. I couldnt find a good box so I just took the painting there and hoped they had one. they did have one for paintings but it was huge! We boxed it up using that box and then weighted it and figured the shipping. It was going to be 100 bucks. After I picked myself off the floor, i suggested we cut down the box and try again. It took at lot of work (on the Fedex girl's part not mine. I just supervised.) but we got cut the box down to about a third of the original size. At the new size, it was only going to cost 30 and that included the box i purchased. WIN

Now I just need to get commissioned to illustrate a favorite band's cover art (just give me a call Over The Rhine, Avett Brothers, Amber Rubarth, A Fine Frenzy, I'll be happy to cut you a deal. hey if we're going to pretend, let's shoot for the moon.) Or I could be represented by a fancy art gallery. It'd have to be something pretty BIG to top what's already happened. I've pretty much surpassed any expectations or goals I had set for myself this year. 

Don't you know...

I'm looking at the positive side today. I'm looking for the inspiring. I saw this on Arian Armstrong's blog. Wonderful lyrics and the imagery is powerful. Love the use of typography.  It's on repeat. 

The End of a Chapter

Divorced. It's not what i want or planned. It ain't easy, but I'm letting go and moving on. The wounds are healing and the stains are fading. A chapter closes, a new chapter begins. 

When I was out camping recently, I was reminded that you can't climb over a mountain in one jump. It's done one step at a time. It's takes time. And sometimes the best thing is to stop staring way up the trail and worrying about those rocks ahead, but to put your head down and focus on where you're stepping now.

I think one of the things i was surprised to experience during all this was learning of other's struggles. I guess when your mask of perfection is broken and you're sharing your deepest pains, other people - friends you thought you new so well - feel free to reveal their own deep struggles. 

"Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a great battle.” – Philo of Alexandria


New art gallery to open in Cooper-Young area

David Smith to open Cooper Young gallery in May - Memphis Business Journal:

 David P. Smith is opening a new art gallery in the historic Cooper Young neighborhood on May 7. The new gallery will be in a two-story, 1,600-square-foot building at 703 New York.

lt's good to see art galleries opening. It gives me some hope that i might sell some more art myself. I guess this is technically more of a relocation. It's the same owners as the recently closed Perry Nicole Gallery which always seemed to be in an easy to forget location to me. But I like it when galleries cluster together in areas of town. It makes attending openings more fun when you can just keep walking down the road and seeing more art. South Main is/was like that (the number of galleries is always in flux). Broad Ave. has gotten that way. That stretch of Central between East Parkway and Cooper St. has a couple galleries there. And there are a few more on Cooper. Maybe not enough close together for an art walk but who knows.  Maybe we'll see a few other galleries pop up there. 


Embedded - permanent words of faith

I was thinking about this the other day. I think a very interesting show to have in the gallery would be a collection of black and white photos of tattoos. They would have to be PG shots of course. All the shots would be detailed shots of tattoos of spiritual meaning. Tattoos that are words from a scripture or a just a verse notation like "psalm 23". But if needed I'd allow some unique icons like crosses and trinity tatts.

I just think it would be interesting to see what verses or words from scripture people have chosen permanently imprint on their body (and life). In addition to the photos, I would want do short interviews with the people. Just ask a couple basic questions. Like why did you get that particular tattoo? when? what does it mean to you now? something like that to include as a personal story to go by each photo. Tattoos always have an interesting story especially ones that are expressions of your beliefs or faith. 

For example, my tattoo says, "for thou art with me. psalm 23" and it is across the left side of my chest. I got it back in Sept of 2009 because I knew that my life was about to enter a seriously dark and lonely time. A time when i would certainly need a daily reminder that even through all of this i am not alone. I have my faith, my friends, and my family. It also fulfilled the need to feel something other than heartbreak and do something self destructive. Like I said it was a dark time. Anyway, Psalm 23 has always been a favorite verse of mine and holds many different meanings and memories. 

This sorta what I'm thinking about for look of the series, but I'd need to work with a photographer. I'd do the interviewing about the story behind the tattoo. Tattoos always have an interesting story especially ones that are expressions of your beliefs or faith. What words have you chosen to embed in yourself?

Road side attractions>>>> EXIT NOW!

You can't go on a good road trip without stopping at a few road side attractions. They add color to your story with their unusualness. Can I recall all of the arts and craft shops that I walked through in Gattlinburg, TN while vacationing in the Smokies? No. But I do clearly remember the ridiculous woodcarving shop. We're talking about the kind of stuff that is typically mostly large logs caved with a chainsaw and painted to look like black bears or eagles etc. Or walking sticks with small carvings of old bearded men. These places get to be as frequent as gas stations. But once I stopped at a very unusual woodcarving shop in Townsend, TN. What was so different that I had to stop? How about a wood carving about the length of a car of a blonde biker chick - big boobs, a thong, the "ho" works - riding a hog. No. not a motorcycle, a real hog that had  wheels attached to the front and back feet. There was also black bears but instead of the typical poses like standing or climbing a tree, one was sitting on a toilet next to a bear using a urinal. WTF! Inside I found other oddities like busty mermaids, a winged pig, and more busty women. My theory is that the artist is a lonely mountain man with a subscription to Maxium Magazine and he is grossly overestimating the market for poorly carved busty women statuettes.

See, i cant make this stuff up. and if you look in the background you can see the bear using a urinal.

Now, I already have some stops planned like art museums, friends, and site seeing. But here are a few that I'm really looking forward to:

Atlantic Station
441 16th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30363
(404) 745-4532

Heck yeah! My first Ikea experience. It's going to be epic. I have all sorts of things marked in my catalog at home for the house and the studio. The key will be to not fill up the car so early in the road trip.  

Cheap Joes Art Store
Open 10 - 7 Mon.-Sat.
Phone: 704 - 333 - CJAS (2527)
4420 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28205

I love their online catalog and order supplies from there all the time. I hope to find all kinds of deals while I'm there and stock up. 

Buffalo Trace Distillery 
located in Frankfort, Kentucky just off I-64 at:
113 Great Buffalo Trace
Franklin County,
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Trace Tour Hours
Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. departing every hour
Saturday: 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. departing every hour

Buffalo Trace is a favorite bourbon whiskey of mine. And this distillery make all three of my favorite brands - Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare - a 10yr old single barrel bourbon whiskey, and Sazerac Rye Whiskey. Yum. They better have tastings as part of the tour and the gift shop better have awesome deals on the whiskey. I want to get a special glass for drinking whiskey too. 

I prefer mine straight over ice. Not a shot or mixed drink. Just something to sip. I dont recall exactly how i ended up drinking whiskey. The choice may have been influenced by watching Deadwood episodes. I think I just decided that the times called for something STRONG and HARD, and whiskey seemed like a pretty hard-ass drink. Also, it went well with cigars and gave you a nice warm sensation, but i found that out later. Anyway, now I just enjoy the taste and have tried quite a few brands. I'm sorta a whiskey connoisseur now. 


More Road Trip Suggestions

Kathy is my road trip hero. She does some big 2 week trip to a gorgeous national park just about every year it seems. In July of 2008, she did 5500 miles in 10 days including a 21 hrs non-stop drive from Memphis to South Dakota. Her trip included the Badlands and Black Hills, Crazy Horse Memorial, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. 

Favorite Road Trip Traditions/Games:

I’m not huge into traditions or games.
I’ll do the “spot the most different states/countries license plates” or “twenty questions, guess who/what I’m thinking of” sort of games.

Highpoint/Lowpoint of the day/overall trip are great conversation starters. That’s an awesome way to stop, breath and relive the good moments and vent about the bad moments with your companions at the end of each day. This is reallllly helpful to keep things friendly on long trips. Usually works better with girls than guys though...

I guess these are my traditions:
1. Make a point to get to know some of the people I meet along the way. Not all of them, cause I’m not that outgoing or energetic! Often helps me to appreciate how we are all so different, but still so similar. It allows me to recognize and say hi to the same people again and again along the road, which makes for the most random and friendly moments. 

One of my favorites was while waiting in front of the McDonald Lodge in Montana for our Jammer Bus Tour Guide to return. It was just a retired gentleman from North Dakota and me sitting on a bench enjoying the perfect weather. He’d heard the tour guide mention I was from Memphis. Turns out he was a huge Tigers Basketball fan. We had the best discussion on Memphis coaches, team history and where the team was going. I was amazed by his excitement and knowledge, and I think he was amazed that a girl from Memphis was talking basketball to him in Montana. :-) Since I was travelling alone, he and his wife invited me to sit with them during lunch to continue our conversation...which did move beyond basketball, eventually...love those moments.

2. Make a point to get up and out early at least once. Find some quiet alone time and watch the sunrise. City trips – a cup of coffee with a view of the city/neighborhood.
Beach/mountain/country trips – a walk/drive to quiet location with an inspiring view to have breakfast with only the local wildlife around.

3. I always make a point try to find something unique or quirky to randomly stop at along the road...Always do my best to avoid eating/shopping at major chains. Can’t completely avoid them, but I try...Love cheesy or decrepit camp stores...


Your Road Trip Tips and Suggestions are Needed

I'm soliciting advice from folks who have done their own Great American Road Trip. So have you done a GART (i'm stealing this fun term from Elizabeth)? What advice would you give to a novice road tripper? What is one of your favorite road trip rituals?

Elizabeth Cawein - longest trip - Memphis, TN to New Jersey and back - grand total over four days. it was about 35 hours. 4 hours friday, 12 hours saturday, 14 hours sunday, 4 hours monday: just be prepared to completely wing it. that's my biggest piece of advice. make a plan. because you should always make a plan. but then be prepared to completely throw it out the window and do something totally different. and no matter what you do, think of it as a story to tell later. that is the reason you stop in places called nutter fort, west virginia. because for the rest of your life you will talk about the time you stopped in nutter fort.

Fav Road Trip rituals: Stopping at a Dairy Queen for sure. also, i would say getting up at the crack of dawn is a big one for me. i love to make good time, and it doesn't feel like a road trip unless you're on the road just before dawn. (or well before dawn.) if i'm doing the road trip with someone else, i like to play car games, too. most of which are made up on the spot. like when holly and i played, "which developing nation also sounds like a baby name from Memphis?" 

Robert Fudge - longest trip - 22 hrs Memphis, TN to Flagstaf, AZ: 
have good podcasts. plan to be flexible, avoid doing things you could do at home (ex: eating at wendy's) also: check the pressure in your spare tire. alsp avoid interstate....you can never see stuff from the interstate, but two lane highway goes straight through town.....think I-40 verses Summer Ave, or Stage Road (both technically highways) you just get a better feel for places, even if it takes longer....also easier to pull over on a whim.

Fav Road Trip rituals: music tends to be key....as does coffee. I like to plan out mile stone playlists....what will I be listening to when....i cross the mississippi...leave pavement etc. lots of sing along sessions....keeps driver alert. i seem to have a wierd tradition of driving places in the middle of the night, not sure that i recommend it. but it teaches you to go ahead and nap when its needed. i have taken quite a few naps when alone at rest stops or what have you.

Darren - longest trip - 16hrs Memphis to Brighton, MI:
you need to take some of the 5 hour energy drinks because driving on your own sucks, i always make sure i have breakdowns covered on my car insurance, have a oil change about a week before you go that gives you one week in case some thing goes wrong, make sure you fill you windshield washer fluid, check the spare, and just have fun.

Robyn: 2100 miles - dallas, little rock, atlanta, nashville, birmingham, the colony, tx:
load the ipod with your favorite music. stay in the homes of people you go to see if its possible. if they have kids, bring them presents. this is all in my book i havent finished writing. ugh. video your experience so you can share it online. i wish i had done that schedule it so that you can have time to wiggle around, but also make sure you see the people you want to see.

Fav Road Trip rituals: i always look for sonic so i can have sonic ice. i like to eat in local restaurants, not chains, when i'm traveling.

Myself - longest trip - 14 hrs Memphis, TN to Anna Maria Island, FL: 
Fav Road Trip rituals: Stopping at the rest stops. Listening to David Sedaris audio books. Finding odd repetitive roadside attractions to call out, especially kitsch stuff like "hey, you need a walking stick." or "look boiled peanuts! wanna stop?" and making fun of billboard designs. 


Blanchard Springs - trial run for the BIG roadtrip

So here's the Blanchard Springs camping trip recap. The campsites are $10 cash per night and at a first come basis. Unlike some park it and camp sites, these did not have water facets. In fact, there was a boil notice at the time, and come to think of it there was one the last time i went there. So next time I'd either bring a whole bunch of bottled water or some water purification tablets. Boiling uses up a lot of fuel and time.

View Larger Map

This was the first time for me to take the volvo on a trip. I figure that a trip or two is required before my 2010 Art Roadtrip. I need to get comfortable and accustomed to my new ride. Also a few short trips should reveal anything that needs fixing. For example, the sunroof seems a tad loose which you dont notice around town or on good roads, but on bumpy Arkansas highways it's a very noticeable rattle. Oh, and it's not the best at river crossing (more on that later).

It was also good to try out the new tent. Wow, for a 2 person backpacking tent, it sure had a lot of room. Much more than i expected. I'm glad that I set it up for the first time in the daylight. It is always tricky the first time you set up a new tent. The ones I used as a boy scout are so familiar to me that I can (and i seriously have) set them up blindfolded. The REI tent was pretty simple once you got the hang of it. I think it will be much quicker next time. It was a great purchase. No doubt.

Above is a shot of the spring water coming out of the Blanchard Spring Caverns. The caverns are amazing. I taken the tour it a few times, but I didn't go this time. Everything was so nice and pretty outside that it didn't seem worth it.

The Ozarks, Arkansas rivers, and bluffs... ah, it feels like going home to grandma's. This is my childhood. This is where i went camping as a kid and as a boy scout. Speaking of all things Arkansas, let me introduce you to the low water crossing.

I don't care for these low water crossings, they worry me since I drive a car not a truck or SUV.  But Arkansas has a number of them when you go into the backcountry. So the Volvo and I have never done one of these before, but the water was only about 7 inches deep and the current seemed very slow. Should be fine right? The ranger didnt warn us about this. Anyway.... The photo above is from the drive out of camp. So maybe  I had a better technique this time because the first time the tires threw the water up higher. And this happened.

Seriously? I feel this bit o plastic (a wind damn or somthing?) wasn't firmly attached anyway. I'll get it put back on later, but this was upsetting at the time. Geeze. It felt like a real life version of the Oregon Trail video game. Your oxen have drowned. River fording FAIL... Sigh.

But all in all it was a great trip and I really enjoyed it. I'll be more prepared next time.


Art in the Yard

I've wanted to host one of Deeann's workshops for some time. Since the weather was so incredibly nice, we chose to set up in the backyard. We learned about collage, layering, and mixed media techniques including beeswax and assemblage. 

It looks like we're having an art picnic. It was a great time.

Above is my nearly finished piece from the workshop. 


Vroom! I'm ready to hit the road.

So I've got a new(er) car and not a moment too soon. My 1993 Honda Civic hatchback with over 175,000 miles died. Not completely, but there was something seriously wrong and it barely made the short drive to Bruce Wholesale Motor Co from my house. I got next to nothing for it but I'm just glad to have it off my hands. It was bleeding me dry.

My newer car is a 2003 Volvo wagon V70 with 101,000 miles. Say hello to the Fudge-mobile art hauler - extended canvas edition. Holy cow. It's like going from a size small to XL. Not to mention clunker to classy.

I'm taking her camping this weekend to Blanchard Springs in the Ozark National Forest. And no, I haven't given her a name yet. It's too early in the relationship. Though I feel it should start with a "V". 

Before it gets too hot and buggy, I'll need to take her to the Summer Drive in for a double feature. When you have a hatchback, it's like tailgating when you go. It's going to be so much fun. 

And of course, HUGE canvas hauling is planned. I'm not exactly sure what i can fit but possibly a 4ft x 6ft one. I'm smiling just thinking about it. But before I do that I need to finish some preliminary sketches for a children's book that 2 friends are helping write and produce with me. (No. Seriously, I cant believe it either. More info to come.)