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Back to Nature

The last couple blog posts have been... bummers. Hard to help it. After months of COVID limbo, things are finally... getting worse. Cases are spiking. There is no sign of assistance from the government. It's all so much more of a struggle than it should be.

But anyway! I'm feeling better than I was while writing those last posts. I have so much work ahead of me but it doesn't seem as daunting. I believe this is due to two factors that I've introduced into my life: daily nature walks, and way less Instagram.

Every day last week I went on a brisk one-hour walk down the San Diego Creek Trail and back, with little variations each day to keep it interesting. I've been using it as a chance to meditate, listen to art-related podcasts, call my family, find inspiration, and just burn some calories since I've gained about 10 pounds since March. One thing I really love about living here in Irvine is there are so many places and opportunities to get out into nature. Every time I take a walk I find beauty; and usually some solace.

I have definitely been having trouble with figuring out which direction I should be heading with my art career. There are a lot of downs (and some ups) with pursuing this kind of path. I get depressed and anxious a lot. I lose my motivation. I question everything. It sucks and makes me feel terrible. My art feels directionless, so I try to think about the things I actually like. What do I actually like that makes me happy and excited (apart from eating all the

food and drinking all the wine anyway... because of aforementioned 10 pounds) and that I could incorporate seamlessly into my- *gag*- brand? Being in nature is where I started with that train of thought. Then I went back to when I was a kid- tan from summer, wearing a huge t-shirt and green rainboots, traipsing through my grandmother's garden with a book in hand, alternately popping a squat by the rhubarb to read, scrambling up the big tree by the fence, rubbing my fingers against parsley and rosemary then sniffing the herbal fragrance left behind. Then, having at some point put on trousers, wandering off down the road toward Lake Champlain- an exciting journey filled with secret detours to explore wooded hollows and long abandoned footbridges and raspberry bushes. Or bicycling around the block, stopping at various yard sales, going fast fast over speed bumps, scraping my knees.

Yeah. That's the good stuff.

But what else do I enjoy? I was somewhat of a goof-off as a kid; I'm not sure exactly how much that has changed. There is really nothing like the feeling of making a group of people laugh. Yeah, that's a really good one.

I like writing. When I was in college I thought one day I'd write a great American novel, but that notion doesn't hold much romance for me anymore. Maybe one day I'll still write an okay American novel. For now I'll sate the urge with this blog.

I like my cat.

I like beautiful things. I like making crafts. I like working with my hands. I like planting seeds. I like watching birds. I like dirt under my fingernails. I like the winter.

What I'm trying to clear up for myself now, is what does that all look like together on a canvas? Currently I have two projects in the works. The first is an ongoing pet project of small 4"x4" abstract art blocks, I don't see an end date for this project because I love doing it so much. I love how cute and small the finished product is, how the colors look together, thinking of things I can attach to make them look interesting. And of course I love how easier they are to ship when someone purchases them.

The other project falls on the other end of the scale. It's a series of large abstract/impressionistic paintings inspired by Californian nature that I'm calling "The Other Coast." When I first started trying to dig into the Orange County art scene I found it was mostly landscapes and seascapes, which are nice, but for me not hugely compelling. I'm troubled because some of the work I'm coming up with now falls into those categories. The more time I spend in nature the more I understand why it's such a prevalent motif among artists here. I am hoping, however, to figure out my own spin on it all. A lot of my art doesn't start with a clear picture of what it should look like at the end; hopefully this series follows that same pattern of coming together gradually, and by the end it'll look like it all belongs and like it all came from me.

I am aiming for a collection of 10 large pieces with 5 or 6 smaller ones peppered in. Once it's finished I'll have a digital gallery opening, much like the one I had earlier this year with Heidi Nielson for our MG + HN collaboration. Make sure you're subscribed to my email newsletter to hear more about that as it develops!

Here's my latest work in progress for the series. I am loving working on these huge canvases. I never got to go this big back in DC because I didn't have a way to transport large canvases from the store to my apartment, much less the space in my apartment for them. But now I have access to a car so my scope has widened to 48".

So many works in progress. This piece. The collection. My career. My life. Making all the weird little pieces somehow work together. I'm feeling good about it, and I like to think that's because I'm making actual progress. But it could also be because I'm not on Instagram nearly as much anymore. Instagram sucks.

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