The Washington County Arts Council is presenting the 2013 Community Art Show, featuring 70 pieces of juried artwork from local artists.
I am pleased to say that “Jane Seymour Cat” was accepted, and will be on display at their gallery on 34 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown, from December 6th ~ December 31st.
All artwork will be available for sale through the gallery, which is managed by Chris Brewer. Call 301-791-3132 or e-mail GalleryMgr@WashingtonCountyArts.com
Jane is listed for $150.00 She is an acrylic painting on stretched canvas, measuring 8″x10″, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, and probably a couple cat hairs embedded into the varnish, also for authenticity…. ;)
This is the first time my work has been recognized by a gallery; even though it was an open call for artists to enter, I still feel proud that the respected jurors, Lee Weaver and R. Benjamin Jones, deemed my painting worthy of being included. :)
Despite the fact that I’ve been selling my work fairly steadily for the past four years, and regularly communicate with artists all over the world (thanks to Facebook), I have never felt comfortable proclaiming myself as an artist within my own community. Of course, I had never considered art as a career until very recently.
I have visited the downtown galleries on occasion, and the style of artwork that I’ve seen displayed is vastly different from my own. Landscapes of covered bridges and Amish farmhouses were popular, as were snowy woods and cityscapes. There were the usual still-life oil paintings of flowers and portraits of people, photographs of trains, and abstract pieces… bright and contrasting paint dripping down large canvases like melted crayons.
The animal portraits I noticed were always realistically portrayed, cats sleeping on windowsills and puppies playing with butterflies. I couldn’t imagine my artwork hanging there.
The annual “Art for the Animals” charity auction has been the only art scene in which I’ve participated within Washington County. An animal fundraiser event seemed like the perfect place for a cat artist to be. Yet even there, surrounded by animal lovers, I was an outsider.
My art is too different.
I don’t have a philosophical message. I’m not trying to rediscover a lost art form. My work isn’t political in nature, or looking to raise important questions about inequality or oppression.
I’ve read artist statements and biographies of local respected artists, and realized why I’ve been struggling for years to write my own statement. Everyone takes themselves so seriously! :P
What could I possibly say about my work?
“I seek to populate the world with cats masquerading as people.” Hahaha!
I simply want to make people laugh and smile! I want to paint something fun and amusing to me, which will hopefully be appreciated by someone else.
The world can be a very depressing and stressful place to live, and quite honestly, the last thing I want to wake up and see every morning is a gloomy piece of artwork.
While puppies, and butterflies, and sailboats, and covered bridges are all very serene and familiar… I want to create art that makes people happy!
Like hearing your favorite song on the radio, urging you turn the volume up to sing along!
Years ago, when someone decided to become an artist, they started locally exhibiting their work, and eventually expanded to a larger regional area, and if they were really good, they would tour across the US and abroad. Galleries were essential to growing their careers.
I have been fortunate to live in the technology age, where anyone interested in creating art can simply “test the waters” by selling a few pieces on the internet.
My Etsy shop and website have been running since 2009, and since then my work has evolved and changed as I continue to experiment with ideas. I never worried about whether or not my art would be accepted, because the internet is like an endless tide of people sweeping in and out, many of whom washed up on my shore and enjoyed my point of view.
It has been said, albeit condescendingly, “People will buy just about anything.” And it’s the truth.
It always felt “safe” to sit behind my computer screen and interact with strangers halfway around the world, whether it be a small wholesale order for a giftshop in Australia, or a private commission from someone in Japan. They never asked whether I had gallery representation, and they seldom asked which art school I attended.
But off-line, these things seem to matter to people. And my lack of local presence has been weighing on me lately. I feel like I need to step away from the computer and put my work in front of the jury. I feel like I’m finally ready to take myself seriously.
I know my style needs to be improved upon, and my technique has a long way to go… but I’m working on it every day, and it was very special to me that all my efforts have been recognized in that lovely acceptance e-mail from Mr. Brewer.
Now what should a Crazy Cat Lady wear to an art gallery exhibit opening? =^,,^=
Following on the heels of the closing reception for this year’s Art for the Animals charity auction, which raised nearly $3,000 in donations for Guiding Eyes for the Blind…..
Joe and I became homeowners!
We signed the paperwork on October 29th, and moved everything in the same day. It took us approximately zero hours of blood, sweat, and blisters!
Although it did take a huge amount of cash we’d been squirreling away!
So I’m kicking off the Winter Farmer’s Market season in Westminster, MD with a “Fall Clearance Sale” to help pay for our groceries. And hopefully find furr-ever homes for some of my lonely prints and plaques. ;)
Here’s a little more info about this tiny house, and our big plans for it.
We found this house three-and-a-half years ago, when we were transitioning from our old rental property in downtown Hagerstown. We had been house-hunting for awhile, moving each time our lease expired, in hopes of finding something that felt like home.
We knew this place was something special when we first toured it, and I even wrote in my blog that I felt “a sense of peace and belonging” here.
Yes, we’ve already been living in our new home for the past three years!
If you and I are Facebook friends, this is already old news to you… but it still came as a surprise, didn’t it?
I mean, we haven’t been exactly head-over-heels-madly-in-love with our house the entire time. We’ve had landlady drama, and neighbor drama (hehe, that is the understatement of the decade!), and pest drama, and maintenance drama, and you understand how it goes.
And while the landlady and pests may be gone, some obstacles remain a challenge.
This rowhouse neighborhood was built in 1971, and while every home is individually owned (or rented), a few have been upgraded and many have not.
People laugh and make cute remarks about my “retro kitchen” and sliding closet doors. But we’ve had so many headaches with the faulty electrical wiring in this house, from smoking outlets to power surges.
We have the original aluminum wiring behind our walls, which is slowly deteriorating and flaking apart; some of the outlets are no longer functioning. This is our biggest concern for safety reasons, so we will be getting an electrician to inspect the damages after the holidays. :/
On the brighter side, now that we’ve decided to put down roots here…. I literally want to put down roots! We’ve been adding little bits to our front garden every year, but with a sad acceptance that our plants would inevitably be abandoned or removed by the new tenants after we leave.
Now that we intend to stay, I’ve decided to tear up all the grass in the front yard and plant a cottage garden!
I spent three days pouring over my Encyclopedia of Gardening, reading descriptions of hundreds of plants and herbs, and have decided upon a mix that will add variety/color all year long, provide food for birds and other animals, and will smell heavenly!
I spent an entire day just mapping out my yard for future plants. LOL
On my list of plants/shrubs to purchase come spring: peonies, hydrangeas, and cotoneaster; a climbing rose and clematis for the arbor; a Rose of Sharon (pruned into a tree) for a focal point; hollyhocks, foxgloves, tall phlox, and coneflowers; irises, tulips, lilies, cosmos, and phlox; verbena, wood violets, and bellflowers; walkway edging plants ~ baby’s breath, flea bane, allysum, astors, lavender, and catmint. :)
I currently have crocuses, hyacinths, daisies, daffodils, and chrysanthemums planted, alongside my bleeding heart and rose bushes…. and have seeds ready for spring planting of basil, cress garden, ornamental peppers (non edible), baby carrots, burnet salad, summer squash, Orient Wonder beans, and hyacinth beans (non edible). I’m planning to grow many more varieties of spices and herbs in containers outside.
We will be looking into purchasing wooden fences next year, a nice picket style for the front yard (with an arbor arch over our sidewalk), and a utilitarian privacy fence for the backyard.
Joe preaches the old proverb, “Good fences make good neighbors”.
My quest for a bird-bath led me back to The Guten Tag in Funkstown, where Jess had one left, and sold it to me for $20. I could hardly contain myself in her shop, because I wanted to bring home everything I saw!
If you live in the Hagerstown/Funkstown area, you must check out the Guten Tag on the corner of Baltimore St! :)
After long neglecting my Pinterest account, it has become my Go-To place for pinning images and ideas for garden and home renovations. I found this adorable idea for a village of birdhouses!
Indoors, we have a laundry list of cosmetic fixes… which seems overwhelming, but knowing we have several years to get it done, we will be tackling the smaller projects first.
Like painting the walls!! Finally!
I know renters who aren’t afraid to paint their walls, and personalize their spaces, but we were always hesitant to do ANYTHING at all if it meant un-doing it prior to moving out.
We really haven’t discovered our voice in this space yet. So you must pardon my overactive imagination that has finally been released to run amok and do crazy things!
My proposed color scheme, most likely influenced by our current season: cream, gold, pumpkin spice, dark red, sage green, and dark brown.
I do find myself attracted to these autumn colors year round, so I’m not afraid to paint my walls Spice and Sage. (My husband is a little afraid)
In the entrance room alone, we plan to: paint the walls and the stairs; install chair-rail beadboard, a new bannister and stair post; lay new flooring (wood or stone); hang a light fixture; build a coat rack/bench; purchase a secretary desk and large mirror.
The lower level of our house doesn’t get much light (we’re in the middle of the block of rowhouses, with neighbors sharing our walls), so we plan to upgrade our existing windows, add a skylight in the stairwell, and make the most of the sunny spots… :)
Joe and I have developed a list of building projects to get his creative juices flowing (as he once mentioned wanting more to do…. silly man!)
His first mission is to build me a bookcase in the living room, covering one entire short wall and extending to the ceiling. It will have a computer desk built into the center of it, and recessed lighting on the upper shelves for ornamental knick-knacks.
We also plan to knock out part of the kitchen wall to create a bar counter, which will also allow more natural light into the living area.
He wants to install a skylight in the bathroom upstairs…. and eventually, add a 1/2 bathroom downstairs. We have so many storage closets, but with five people living here, we need a second bathroom! LOL
When we are finished, it will be the closest thing to heaven in the heart of town. I’m still holding onto the dream of a little farmhouse or cottage, situated on multiple acres, so I can have my rambling flower garden, a vegetable garden, a fortress playground for the (grand)kids, and a detached wood-shop and art studio, too!
It would be even more amazing if the property backed the woods and had a stream running through it.
If I click my heels together and say “There’s no place like home”, I will be whisked away to a beautiful place somewhere…..
But when I open my eyes, I’m still standing here, ten feet away from my neighbor’s house, and staring at a blank wall.
So maybe this is where I belong after all.
Maybe its beauty is still waiting to be discovered.