Summer

IMG_6586I always get nervous when school gets out for the summer. For some reason I worry that I won’t get into my studio to work as much as I’d like. This year has been different. My boys are willing subjects for a new series of paintings and we’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the woods, enjoying the sunshine, and the freedom of lazy summer days. They have inspired enough reference photos and sketches for a lifetime’s worth of paintings. They are the most fun and creative studio assistants an artist mom could hope for!

Fall show, “Becoming”

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This fall I will have a solo showing of my artwork at St. Peter’s Church in NYC.  The exhibit, titled “Becoming”, represents a huge milestone for me personally beyond any of the artistic triumph of being asked to do a solo show at all and in Manhattan no less.  The 16 paintings that will be on display reveal the personal journey I have taken over the last ten years.  As a new young mother, I used my studio as an escape, I painted only for myself as a way to maintain my identity.  My entire goal was just not to quit.  Despite the sleepless nights and unpredictable days I continued to find time to paint, drawing inspiration from my journal thoughts and personal experience.  Now that life has settled into a rhythm and I am able to fill more of my days with painting I am amazed at what I have actually accomplished.  The timing of this show could not have worked out more perfectly if I had written the script myself.  On August 27 I will get my boys ready for the first day of school, sending my youngest off to his first day of first grade.  At the same time my paintings will be carried into the gallery space at St. Peter’s to be installed for the show.  In one morning I will have crossed both a finish line and a starting line, still devoted to my children but ready to begin a new chapter of my life and art.

“Cared For”

Cared For, 24x36", Oil on Canvas

“Cared For” is one of the last paintings I completed in 2012.  I can clearly remember the moment, while helping my son wash his hands, that I felt inspired to paint this simple task.  I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve helped my sons wash their hands over the last eleven years.  Come to think of it, many of the things that have filled my days over the past decade have been seemingly small and simple tasks.  These moments are easy to overlook but added up over the years become something more.  They are something learned, something shared.  Now that I’m at the point where no one really needs me to help them do things like wash their hands, I can see how all this time added together has resulted in something greater.  We are at a point of transition now.  This shift intrigues me as an artist but sometimes scares me as a person.  My boys are becoming more independant and instead of fighting the tide, I too need to grow and change.  It takes patience and small steps, not every day can be epic, but after a while our effort can get us to a place we never thought we would reach.

“Last Straw”

Last Straw, 24x30", Oil on Canvas

At one point today, I needed to take a few deep breaths to keep myself from either laughing out loud or bursting into tears.  It’s been one of those overwhelming and unpredictable days in the studio again where progress seems so slow.  I went to bed last night with the excited anticipation of spending some really productive time painting.  This morning had other plans for me because my son is home sick instead of at school.  I always imagine other artists in their cool loft studios, listening to cool music while cool young assistants bustle busily about.  The contrast between this image and my reality is where the laughing and/or crying feeling comes from.  It is also the reason why I have had the following quote from Linda Nochlin taped on my studio cabinets for the last six years.  It reads, “….if a woman is hemmed in by the domestic scene, if floors, toys, and laundry are her daily fare, she can still turn adversity into advantage, constructing out of the meanest, most neglected aspects of experience an imagery horizonless and claustrophobic, yes, but concrete, present, and unchallengeable in its verisimilitude….”  The painting “Last Straw”, which I posted above, perfectly exemplifies my reality.  My days may be unpredictable but they never leave me with a shortage of inspiration.  In truth, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Growing Up

Fritz at Ten, 28x24", Oil on Canvas

We celebrated my son’s eleventh birthday this past Saturday.  I am amazed at how grown up he is getting even though it feels like he was just a baby not so long ago.  I also began to think about how different I was eleven years ago.  I was blessed with a healthy, beautiful baby and also completely overwhelmed.  I had plans and goals that were completely unrealistic considering that I didn’t even have time to sleep.  Looking back, it was enough just to be able to find the time to paint a little every day.  Now I see that time as a gift I needed although I never could have known it at the time.  I was forced to slow down and re-order my priorities.  I had a lot of time to think about who I wanted to be both as an artist and as a person.  I wouldn’t have found the path I am on today without the experience of motherhood.  I thought I had so many things to teach, but ended up learning so much and being forever changed.

Bound

Bound, 27x40", Oil on Canvas

The inspiration for “Bound” came from a comment a friend made while we were both pregnant for the first time. We had known each other since our husbands were still just college boyfriends and now found ourselves becoming new young families. We had both worn white dresses and danced at big receptions but that all seemed so frivolous compared to the bond now being created between husband and wife. My husband, this baby, and I would forever be bound together.

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