I found out about this opportunity just a few days before the application deadline and scrambled for an idea for my project proposal. At the time of application, it was December in Vermont, and I had just begun the deep journey into Netflix season, which I began by watching the re-make of the television series, "Cosmos." As someone coming from the West Coast with a lot of New Age Fluff Spirituality in my everyday life, and rapidly moving away out of that lifestyle while living on the East Coast, watching "Cosmos" was an eye opening experience about the mystical nature of reality as it is seen when investigated and discovered by science. And so I was inspired to do a painting series that used images showing our physical reality as it is seen by science, and travel from the micro to the macro.
Here was my official statement:
The main inspiration for my art comes from witnessing the beauty of nature, and feeling my body as a part of nature experiencing itself. I live in awe of the everyday natural processes occurring around me all the time. Clouds, rivers, trees, the dance of light on a landscape throughout the day, and seasonal transitions are just a few of the earthly wonders that captivate me. In this state of wonder I am filled with an urge to capture and recreate what I am seeing and feeling. Up until this point many of my paintings have taken the form of landscape and figurative work.
During my residency at New City Galerie I will be working on a painting series, “Voyage Through the Human Lens”. This series will take the viewer on a journey from the tiniest visions of our earthly existence, seen only through a microscope, outward to what is seen with the naked eye, and even further yet, to the cosmos as seen through a telescope. My intention with this work is to deepen the connection with the nature that we are. I believe that the more we feel intimately connected to something the more we are driven to cherish and preserve that thing. In a time of technological disconnect from our natural origins and frightening environmental upheaval, it is my hope that my art will inspire a greater appreciation for the living system we are a part of.
My first painting in the studio ended up being a triptych because at the time I only had one canvas to work with and I was antsy to get started with a painting that encapsulated the theme within itself. And so the Owl Butterfly triptych was created:
On the left panel of the triptych is a close up the Owl Butterfly's egg and on the right is a close up of the scales on the wing.
While I was working on the first painting I started a crowd sourced fundraiser, and received more support than I expected. I received a little over $350, which I spent on paint, canvases, and a few new brushes. It wouldn't have been possible without this support from my community. It was an incredibly empowering and inspiring experience to feel that my community truly values art making, and puts their money behind their praise. I was especially moved by the support of one of my amazing High School teachers, Alana Althaus, who was the first and last contributor to my fundraising campaign. It's a pretty amazing thing to have someone who was my teacher 8 years ago still really show up and support me in being great. To me that says a lot about her commitment to her role in the world as a teacher, creating a rich and nourishing environment for humans to flower into greatness.
Next I made another triptych, this time with a Dandelion:
I followed the same theme that I started with the Owl Butterfly by putting the Dandelion seeds on the left (equivalent to the egg) and a close up the plant cells of chloroplasts on the right.
The third triptych I did was of a Morel mushroom, with spores on the left and a close up of the Morel's texture on the right:
(all the triptychs are 16"x20" acrylic on canvas)
Here is the adorable original photo, so you can know why I was so frustrated ;) Maybe I will finish it someday... Maybe I won't.
One of the earlier paintings in the series is this one of a hydrogen atom I did from a still of the beautiful animation from "Cosmos": 12"x14" acrylic on canvas
I had planned on doing many more small paintings exploring the atomic level of existence, but as usual, ambitions tend to be higher than what's realistically possible within a certain timeframe...
I spent the most time working on my two largest paintings of outer space. I started with the Milky Way Galaxy and then did the Orion Nebula. Both are 30"x40" acrylic on Canvas.
It wasn't until after I completed this painting of the Milky Way that I realized I painted it from an image that is an artist rendering of what the Milky Way might look like and not an actual photo from a telescope. It wasn't until someone made a comment about it being the most incredible selfie ever taken that I realized there is no way we could possibly have a photo of the Galaxy we are within. Someday...
Here I am excited to be starting the Milky Way painting, it was the biggest canvas I had ever worked on:
This painting of the Orion Nebula is my absolute favorite of the series, I spent the most time on it, was challenged incredibly by it, and found so much joy getting lost in abstract rainbow heaven. Nearly every color I know how to mix is in this painting. My disclaimer is that I'm having a really hard time getting a picture of it that does it justice, it's best seen in person.
in very early stages:
One Saturday in the studio I was having a bad day, so I made this:
Overall I am very grateful for the experience of being an artist in residence at New City Galerie, and I want to give a big thanks to Joseph Pensak for providing this opportunity in support of the arts. I would definitely encourage other local artists to apply! http://newcitygalerie.org/artist-in-residence/
The last six months did not come without some major ups and downs. In those six months I moved twice and spent months apartment hunting in between. I also worked two jobs for the first two months and had many weeks with no day off. It was exhausting and pushed me to my limits at times, but I must say it was great to have the structure of having to be in the studio every Saturday for six months. I don't think I would have ever spent a full day painting once a week if I wasn't committed to the work trade situation and had to be there. A little structure can go a long way for me. Another aspect of this series that was a new challenge for me was that I was working from photos sourced from the internet, and the hours scrolling through google images for the right photo was definitely my least favorite part of the process. I think I will stick to working from my own photographs in the future.
Most of all I am proud of myself for starting and finishing this project!
I just moved my studio back into my bedroom and am ready to start a new series :D Stay tuned!