before and after

I spent several of my early spring Sunday mornings at Malaprop’s, one of my favorite places in Asheville, giving theĀ  old paper mache tree a makeover. It really needed some love and care…

Over the years the poor tree had taken a beating and was covered with scribbles and signatures, and it looked kind of like a late-fall tree, with just a few leaves left. I cut the new leaves by hand, and the inspiration for the paint style came from the Sibley Guide to Trees, which has beautifully painted images of all the tree varieties.

(click photos to see enlargements)

It’s been forever since I’ve painted anything, and I have to say that I was nervous about executing the paint job that I’d envisioned. In the end, it was fun to work in a different medium, and when the tree was done I felt honored to have been asked to work on the project. As I’m becoming more focused on our upcoming move, it’s nice to think that I’ll be leaving a pretty, public work of creativity behind. I love how the tree turned out, and it was great to spend some time with my old buddies at the store!

visiting with an old friend.

Carley was one of the first people I met when I moved to Asheville, and I spent last Sunday morning in her studio at the Wedge talking about all kinds of art-related stuff. She is an amazing artist, and we share a love of printmedia and critiquing bad artwork. She is making some cool stuff and made me want to make prints and paintings!

Here is her website:

cramps in my style…something to be grateful for?

About a year ago I came across a local artist making some stuff that was a little too similar to my own work for comfort. And while the details of the similarities are not important, my reaction and the ensuing understanding I came to did was notable. When I talked to a friend about what I’d found and how I felt, she shared a similar experience with her own ideas and style being appropriated around town. And while sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who understands my feelings on a given subject, the knowledge that she imparted was far more meaningful than a few moments of humorous commiseration would have been. What she offered was the idea that these types of situations help us grow and change, and think of brand new ideas that are all our own. It’s like an unasked for, unexpected, amazing gift from someone that I initially had a lot of anger and resentment toward.

Today I’m examining the way that I want things to be, the way that things really are, and how the latter is a gift if I make it so.