I was introduced to this organization in a round about way — the best part about social media really. Connor’s Heroes is an organization providing support and resources for family’s dealing with pediatric cancer. These art session provide the children with a space to create for a couple hours. They make their way around the room to different stations — sometimes working the whole time with you, and other times, floating around from table to table. Their parents have time to social with other parents, assist their children, or even, have a coffee and a quiet moment. Some artwork is taken home that day, and some pieces are kept for a large auction that directly benefits these families. At first I was hesitate to volunteer as an artist for their monthly Hero Sessions. Honestly, I was afraid that I would fall in love with these little people, and be heart-broken in some way…

It is both my strength and weakness: to love deeply.

I signed up to create with them. I attended a session to just observe and get my footing. And felt the energy in the room to be something quite special. I began pulling together an idea that could be worked on for 3 year olds all the way to high school students – it needed to span ALL ages! I walked into our workroom at school and saw the paper shredder and new that would be the staring point.

The idea was based on the James River — the birds that nested their, the city, the map of Richmond, the waterways, all of this…. and we’d mix and mingle these materials into an abstract piece that loosely resembled theses idea. We had textured boards for pastel rubbings, collage and gluing various papers, and of course, the biggest it… using straws to blow watercolor across the paper! A collaborative piece that eventually was sold during Connor’s Heroes Ball. It was a whirlwind. But, these moments and smiles were precious and joyous  in ways I did not expect.
A month later, I returned with another idea. This time, something specifically for the younger kids. My high school students prepped some shapes to be used as petals, and we were able to create this quick floral mixed media pieces. More watercolor for a vibrant background, an organic flowers with white color pencil details. The floral piece was auctioned off during the silent auction. The river piece below sold for over $2000 at the live auction. I had no idea this would be the outcome. Please check out Connor’s Heroes and the work they do in the Richmond community.

In 2015, it was all about exhibitions… submit, reapply, submit, reapply.. and it was a great year FULL of shows. Naturally, after making work – you want to show it. But, then you want to make new work.. so 2016 was all about making. I didn’t put too many specifics onto myself. I am goal-oriented, but I wanted to approach things differently. I found myself working on small(er) projects, different ideas, some collaborations, and finding more balance between my teaching position, art-making, and some new lifestyle changes (much needed, healthier habits)… here’s what went down last year!

Spring 2016

Began shooting a new series of “Tablescapes” — taking a turn away from portraiture and looking at this still life/landscape combo and shooting with my Mamiya RB67 (beast of a camera!!) I am literally growing grass on top of my kitchen table. Weird. I know… I did this several times in early Spring and late Summer. Still unsure exactly the direction that it’s going, but seeing a much better idea now (in 2017!)

Most of my photography is really well planned out — there’s a concept, there’s reasoning, then there’s decisions about equipment, film, lighting, setting, and mounds of research. It takes me FOREVER to execute a single idea and then I usually go in the darkroom and print it all by hand. Therefore, I gave myself a challenge over the summer. I had to produce 30 pieces of art in 12 weeks. Less thinking, less planning, less knowing… just action. I took some “bad” prints that I had leftover for my “Cultivate” series and began to paint…. on them.

Producing a lovely series titled “Her” — 30 6”x6” mixed media panels — all representing an aspect of myself. You cam see the whole series HERE.

 

I spent a little time in the darkroom and began experimenting with my “Tablescape” images, and did have this small, contact printed image displayed from July – August at Studio Two Three. I was fortunate to be among other Studio Two Three artists in their Hand Processed Show.

 

Then school started!!! A friend of mine (also an art teacher and working artist) suggested we collaborate on a year-long art-making adventure. We would play telephone. We would both create a piece each month. Then at the end of the month, we would mail it to each other. And, based off the image we received, we would create a NEW image the next month. We started in September… here is a sneak peek at the work in progress!

 

My “Tablescapes” continued to evolve in the Fall. I tested out printing a few images larger. This image was selected for Studio Two Three’s Silent Auction in September. I was really excited someone actually BID on it — multiple bids!!!

 

I also showed off a couple of the girls at ArtSpace in September for the Central Regional Art Educator Exhibition.

(Her) Attitude and (Her) Generosity — two my personal favorites.
Then, followed up with the full line up at Studio Two Three’s Winter Print Fair in December!! 

I was grateful at every chance to exhibit locally and begin to break out of my comfort zone of all film, all darkroom photography, all the time. (although, I do love it). We’ll see how this practice influences this next year!

 

I try and set goals for myself every year in different areas of my life — within my teaching profession, with my personal artwork, business, and personal goals. These goals help me to find some balance throughout the year. I started off 2015 with my first solo exhibition. It was a huge goal (for many years!) and that alone would’ve made 2015 very successful as a working artist. I set smaller goal to have my work exhibited but didn’t put a number with that goal… good thing.. I could’ve never imaged how OFTEN my work would be on display in one year.

I couldn’t ask for much more. Having my work exhibited multiple times this last year has has given me the closure with this body of work, and I’m looking forward to starting NEW work sooooooon. Hopefully this Summer there will be NEW images for you to see!

Here’s a quick recap of WHERE my work ended up in 2015. I can very grateful for all the jurors, collectors, and gallery directors that gave me the opportunity to show in their space!!

Artspace – Solo Exhibition

 

Crossroads Gallery – Art Educator Show

CRVAEA Art Show

VCU Depot Gallery – Alumni Show

VCU Art Alumi Show

Bedford Gallery – Botanica Show

The Bedford Gallery

Artspace Gallery – Radius 250

Radius 250

Don’t Take Pictures – Online Exhibition

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 12.58.29 PM

Artspace Gallery – ThinkSmall Show

IMG_6344

Studio Two Three – Winter Print Fair

IMG_6454

And…. if having work all over town (and even on the WEST COAST) wasn’t good enough. I also met THE. Sally Mann. She wished me happy birthday and told me to stay in the darkroom. So, my goal is 2016 is to stay in the darkroom… I can’t argue with that!!! 

IMG_5566

 

I received an email around June 1st that my work had been selected for the Bedford Gallery Botanica Show — just as school was wrapping up and we were getting ready for final exams (and I swear — it feels like yesterday!!). I can’t believe that in 2 weeks we will be back at it with a brand new school year. This summer flew by!! I am so incredibly thankful that my Mom and I were able to make the trip to San Francisco for the opening reception at The Bedford Gallery. This is the first time my work has been outside of Virginia, and the first time I’d ever been to the West Coast. I would’ve never been able to make it out there without the financial support from my school and The Hanover Education Foundation — which was the most unexpected gift and gesture.

In two weeks this exhibition will close. It’s about time I get some pictures up for you to see a little bit of this beautiful show!!! The exhibition showed 200 artworks from about 130 artists from around the US. There was an array of mediums and processes — such a great mix of skill, concept, and craftsmanship. It was really lovely! The house was packed for the opening!! I took a mix of film photographs and iphone pics to document the afternoon. It’s hard for me to even put it into works, but before the opening was over… my work sold. 200 pieces are in the show, and (read this slowly) during the opening my work sold. I won’t ramble on about how amazing it makes me feel and why it’s so significant…. but it is and I am so glad I was there when it happened!!!!

Read other publications about the show — here and here.
The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery The Bedford Gallery

Made it out to San Francisco about a month ago for the Bedford Gallery Opening!! (I’ll have pictures from that NEXT!) It was my first time on the West Coast, so it seemed most appropriate to see a few sights while we were there!! Here are a few shots I captured on film. I decided not to take my digital camera with me…best decision ever.. it made for a lighter load and some lovely images!

The Sights: Muir Woods, Sausalito, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Legion of Honor, Land’s End, The Ferry Building (Farmer’s Market), The Botanical Gardens, The Academy of Sciences, Chinatown, The San Fran Zoo, Chrissy Field
SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSighs SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights SanFranSights