Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Spring has been epically wonderful on the new farm.




Our first spring on our new farm.  This time last year we were filled with anxiety and worry wondering if our old farm would ever sell in order for us to have this place that is beyond our wildest dreams.  I'm still pinching myself that 75 glorious acres are what I call home.  Here are a few updates: 

Delcy had a little bull calf, we named him Dudley.  She was an absolute dream to milk compared to Nanbert (who took to aiming at my skull and kicking her little heart out).  Now the calves are taking it all, and my milking stool is put away until Lola calves this month.


The chickens have settled in nicely--I had to go six months without home raised eggs...never again.

The walls are going up in the old Amish Hat Factory for our future home.  My bedroom will be directly across from my giant studio!  **Swoon**

This is the old farmhouse we are currently living in on the property.  It's about a hundred feet from the Amish Hat Factory building (which you can see a tiny bit of on the left).  I'm hoping to renovate this little cutie to house guests someday for art retreats and homesteading workshops.  The glass porch on the front is my favorite place to be.
The garden is coming along nicely.  Still have a few more plots to plant, but it all seems to be growing.
And it's that time of year.  The neighbor called for me to pick his blueberries for him to take to farmer's markets.  I picked for about five hours yesterday.  It's quite relaxing, truly, and I get to listen to amazing podcasts like "Art For Your Ear," "Garden Dine Love," "WTF," "The Moth," and lots more.  If you're looking for something to listen to while you work--definitely give these a listen.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Artist Interview: Kaetlyn Able


 
Our Love Grows and Grows.
 
I feel just terrible that I didn't get this lovely girl's interview up sooner.  My deepest apologies--this spring has been incredibly busy.  Without further ado, here is an interview with a very talented artist I think all of you will enjoy.  She particularly catches my eye with her vintage-y people and great combination of color and black and white.  Please get to know Kaetlyn Able:
 
1.  Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?
I was always an art kid—happiest when I was drawing and making things. Family lore is that I was a really easy kid, because I always had some quiet project going. I majored in studio art at my small liberal arts college, and then went on to graduate school to get my MFA.
Mini Portrait #3: Masquerade
 
 
2.  What style of art is your favorite and why?
It's so hard to nail down just one favorite style! As a viewer I love it all—from contemporary installation work to the old masters. Any work that was made with an interesting concept in mind, excellent craftsmanship, and emotional resonance (a favorite college professor spoke of work that was made with head, hands and heart) is great art to me. As a maker, my favorite style to work in is a sort of magical realism. I love to work from observation—either from life or from photos that I've taken myself and brought back to the studio. That process of looking very carefully and trying to understand the figure, the light, the character and the particular details of an object or scene, is very calming and meditative to me. And then I love to let that realism run wild into an imaginary place by combining strange elements together (lately it's people and plants), working from memory and letting things melt into abstraction in places.
Passion Flower Dreamer 2.
 
 
3.  What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?
I collect old portrait photographs. I buy them from antique shops and people give them to me. I spend hours and hours just pouring over them, wondering about the people in the pictures and looking for clues about their lives. My ideas for my paintings begin with figures from or fragments of these images. I also love to people watch. I tend to look for, or imagine, great love stories between people I see out in the world. I'm an unapologetic romantic. And I like thinking about and celebrating sassy, strong women and sensitive, nurturing men—the not-traditionally-celebrated combinations of character and gender. I'm also deeply inspired by the natural world. I spend a lot of the spring, summer and fall hiking around outdoors, camera in hand, looking for wildflowers.
Botanical Hat V:  Thistles.
 
 
4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.
I begin with an image or part of an image from one of my old photographs. This is always an intuitive choice—I choose something that I find intriguing without fully understanding why. Making the drawing or painting helps me to think through and understand my fascination with the image. I sketch out the parts of the image that interest me and leave out everything that doesn't. Sometimes I know what botanical elements I want to combine with the photo image right away, and other times that comes to me as I'm working and thinking deeply about the people and the details of the photo, developing their story as I go. I work on a really small, intimate and detailed scale, either layering ink and watercolor washes on paper with tiny brushes, or painting ink onto claybord and scratching the details with a sharp tool to reveal the white clay underneath. My processes are pretty labor intensive. When I'm working on a piece I almost always get to the point where my perfectionism tries to take over—I start seeing a lot of technical “flaws” that distract me and I start doubting the work. I've learned to step away when that happens—maybe even for a couple of days. I return with fresh eyes and am able to let go of that neurotic side to my perfectionism, see the charm in the “flaws” and finish the piece.
Work In Progress via Instagram
 
 
 5.  What is a typical day in your life?
I'm a stay-at-home mom to my two little boys, ages three and five, so I spend most of each day doing mom and household related activities and tasks. My kids are very, very active, so I make it a priority for us to get out and about for most of the day. I'm also undergoing treatment for breast cancer, so I spend a lot of time at the hospital as well. My husband and I share a little workspace in our home, where I make art and he does computer-y things. I work in small chunks of time throughout the day, whenever I get the chance. I'm always at the ready to switch gears and jump into art mode. When my boys are at preschool (they both go two mornings a week) or really into their pretend play together, or watching their afternoon show, or out with their grandma, I sit down at my work table and get a little art time in. I also work after they go to bed at night. My husband and I also trade some kid-free time on the weekends to work on our respective projects. My rule is to find at least half an hour each day for art-making, but I can usually find more.
Dapper Frogs Sitting on Toadstools.
 
 
6.  What do you think draws you to other people's work?
Like I said earlier, I love when an artist's work combines an interesting, deeply explored concept, beautiful craftsmanship and and emotional resonance. I love quirky, authentic-feeling art. I also tend to gravitate toward artists who have a nice kind of balance between consistency and variety in their work.

Vintage Airforce and Wild Roses.
 
 7.  What are your interests/hobbies?
I love being outside, hiking and exploring with my family. I also love doing yoga, cooking, baking, sewing and getting together with friends. And I read a ton. I've also recently started exploring Buddhist teachings and meditation.
Untitled (Mustache).
 
 
8.  Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?
My stay-at-home mom gig is my full time job right now. My plan is to transition back to work as a full time artist as my children enter school. My oldest starts all day kindergarten next fall, and my youngest will go to preschool three full days. So I'll have more dedicated art time starting in the fall. And my younger son will start kindergarten the following year. My ultimate goal is to work while my boys are in school, and then to pick them up and spend the afternoons with them. And to be home with them when they're sick.
The Good Old Days #2.
 
 
9.  What is your favorite piece you've ever made and why?
I don't think I could ever choose just one! It would end up as a tie between my twenty favorites, I think. And since I'm always making new work, my feelings about past work are always changing. My favorites among my own body of work tend to be the ones that resonate with me most emotionally and the ones that represent conceptual and technical breakthroughs.
Work in Progress via Instagram.
 
 
10.  What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?
Do the work, pay your dues, be patient and come up with a plan for how you will create a viable, sustainable business as an artist. What are your goals? What is your budget? Who is your target market? What compromises will you need to make as you're starting out? If you plan to seek gallery representation, remember that there is no venue too small or obscure for your work when you're just beginning. Show your work wherever you can. Your local library, Arts Center, hospital and coffee shops are all great, accessible venues for emerging artists. I showed and sold my work in all of these spaces when I was just starting out. Most of us who apply for big grants or to prestigious galleries will most often be rejected in the beginning. But if you keep plugging diligently away, making work, honing your craft and sharing your work with the public, those galleries and collectors will eventually begin to approach you. It took me eleven years of hard (but exceptionally rewarding) work for that shift to happen.
Buttercups Couple.
 
 
11.  Describe your work space.
My corner of our work space consists of a big computer desk, a drafting table, a nice, deep closet and a little painting cart on wheels. It feels perfect to me—just enough space, but not so much that I don't know what I have or where I put things.
Her work space.
 
 
12.  Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?
I don't know if I would consider them setbacks exactly. Maybe just the twists and turns of figuring out how to cobble together an economically viable existence making art. I did not do a great job really thinking through the business side of things when I was in school. If I remember correctly, I think my plan was to simply be discovered! At that time I didn't have good time management skills either. The result was that after graduate school I ended up kind of flailing around for a few years as I tried to figure out how to make a living and make art. I had a non art related job that I really didn't like and very little time (or so I thought) for art. You know what they say about hindsight, but if I could do it all over I would have been more thoughtful and strategic about my career path when I was in school. There were some missed opportunities there.
Botanical Hat VI: Pasqueflowers.
 
 
13.  What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?
In the short term, I'm working on getting back in the swing of things after getting through the harder parts of my cancer treatments. I'm lucky to be represented by a fantastic gallery, Altitude, here in Bozeman. I had a really successful show last year and sold most of my pieces, but my painting pace slowed down considerably while I was going through chemo and recovering from surgery. So I'm kind of re-emerging right now, and working hard on a new series for the gallery. Once I get them fully stocked with my new work, I plan to seek further representation in other cities. My main longterm goal is to build a sustainable business making art. I've been noodling over how to do that, experimenting with my ideas and analyzing the numbers. And I've discovered that working with galleries is the best fit for me. So that's where I'm focusing.

 
 
Silhouette #29.
 
 
Please also find her and her work here:

Etsy Shop.
Instagram.


 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Nanbert had a little bull calf.

I'd been checking Nanbert multiple times during the day and night since about April 1.  I'd moved her to the birthing stall from the pasture, and it then it was just a waiting game.  A very sleep deprived waiting game.  Early Saturday morning, when I went to the barn, I found her in labor.  Soon after this boy came into the world.


 My daughter has named him Nitroglycerin.  We call him "Nitro," and he is very high energy and living up to his name.  He worries his first-time momma to death, and doesn't listen to her at all.  Most of the time he's zooming around the stall with his tail over his back.  It's been raining all week, but looks like the weather should be clearing.  That means they should be able to venture out to the pasture soon.


His ears are enough to make my heart swoon.  Can't beat the Brown Swiss ears on a cute little Hereford face.  It officially feels like spring now that there is a baby on the ground.  Next up should be Delcy (Nanbert's half sister), then it will be Lola (Nanbert's mom) to calve last this year.  If the goats are bred, they will round out the birthing season in July at the earliest.  Never a dull moment around here.

Artist Interview: Patty Voje.

 Today's interview is with an artist I discovered on Daily Paintworks.  If you don't know about this site, it is a nifty place where many artists post work on a daily basis (what commitment!).  I have high hopes of joining their ranks again someday, but for the moment my time is being spent in the barn (and the garden if it ever dries out).  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Patty Voje is a Minnesota based artist, and she skillfully paints animals, still lifes, and landscapes alike.  Her semi-looseness in her brush strokes is what drew me to her work--that and she paints Brown Swiss!  So let's get to know here better:


1. Were you always an art kid, or did you stumble upon it later in life?

I loved art as a kid. I remember being in elementary school and my Mom signed me up for a summer arts and crafts program. I could have sat inside all day and glued things together!


"#240 Miss World" 24x24 Oil on Cradled Gessobord. 

2. What style of art is your favorite and why?

I like alla prima oil painting, representational art. Because it’s telling a story without explaining everything. You get to fill in the blanks.


"#208 Stay" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

3. What do you use for inspiration, or how do you generate ideas?

Just taking in my surroundings. I have a hard time keeping my eye on the road anytime I’m driving through the country. I always keep a camera handy.

"#310 Big Prick" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.


4. Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished project.

This one varies. But it usually starts with stumbling onto a scene I think I’d really like to paint. If I’m out with my plein air gear I can dig in, if not I grab my camera and grab as many images as possible. Then I decide my cropping. When I’m painting from reference photos I don’t worry about matching colors, backgrounds etc., I try hard to use them as reference. Normally my goal is to capture whatever light effect caught my eye. I don't methodically lay out my paints in a tidy organized manner and mix them in advance. I just put out colors as I go along and see what works.

"254 Big Shot" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.

5. What is a typical day in your life?

I’m a bit of a workaholic. I don’t sleep as much as I should. I get up at 7, hit the gym, roll into my day job (I own a marketing agency) around 9. Work there til 6 or so, go home, have dinner, walk the dogs and PAINT. I usually paint about 3 hours a night. Then I post, blog, catch the news, read a bit and call it a day around midnight. I will say, when I say I’m a daily painter, I mean it. Unless I’m traveling. I paint Monday - Sunday. During the week I keep to my 3 hours, on the weekends I try for 5 to 6 hour sessions.

"#135 High Noon"  8x10 Oil on Gessobord.


6. What do you think draws you to other people’s work?

Color and brush work.

"#244 Lola" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.


7. What are your interests/hobbies?

My schedule doesn’t allow much time for other hobbies, but my dogs and working out are important. I wish I had more time to read. I love, love , love music and always have it playing when I paint.

"#259 Lost In France" 24x24 Oil on Cradled Gessobord. 

8. Is this your full time job, or do you have a job out-of-studio?

I have a real job :) I own a marketing agency. I’ve spent the better part of my career as a designer/creative director. Now it’s more managing the business along with some creative direction. I very much enjoy both my day job and my art. It makes for a busy schedule, but they balance each other out. I need the day job for community and interaction. I think I’d be lonely if I worked in a studio all day by myself. Also, it gives me more freedom with my art. It allows me ample time and finances to travel for events and workshops and I don’t feel like I have to sell to pay bills or to make an audience happy. It allows me to really paint what I want to paint, even if it’s not well received. I will say though, I do plan to work less hours at my day job and commit more time to painting.

"#38 Pig Headed" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.


9. What is your favorite piece you’ve ever made and why?

I painted a street scene in Cinque Terre, Italy last fall. It’s my favorite for a few reasons - first - it turned out :), second - I will always remember painting that scene. I had gotten up before the rest of the town and painted as the shops were opened and people started their day. I felt so lucky to be there and it was funny to set up my gear so early in the morning, sun not up yet, no one around, took some guts on my part, I must say.

"#175 Cinque Terre, Italy" 8x6 Oil on Gessobord.


10. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out in the business world?

Paint everyday. That’s been the most important thing I’ve done. That has really changed everything.

"#317 Snack Time" 6x6 Oil on Gessobord.


11. Describe your work space.

It’s a small studio in my house, probably only 10 x 11 feet. But, it’s mine to make a mess in. I have drying shelves on the walls that hold my small daily paintings. Windows that open. A space for still life set up and two easels and a work table in between the two. And there’s a dog bed for my bulldogs, who like to hang out with me in the evening.

"#149 Social Suicide" 6x8 Oil on Gessobord.


12. Did you face any setbacks on your path to being an artist?

It’s such an impractical pursuit, I don’t know a single artist who hasn’t hit setbacks or discouragement. First you have to get past all the people who think you’re being ridiculous, then you have to be able to give yourself permission. Get past those and you’re home free, sort of :)

The Lovely Artist Herself.


13. What milestones, goals, or achievements are you striving for right now?

I’d like to get into more galleries. I’ve got some ideas for shows I’d like to put together. Some that would be a departure from my beloved farm animals. Most importantly, just keep learning, because no matter where you are, that never stops. I’ll never perfect this and that’s the fun part!

Patty, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions.  

If you'd like to see more:
Her gallery on Daily Paintworks.
Her Website
Her Facebook Page.
Her Blog.
Her Instagram.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Paintings Are Half Price!



JuliaWrightArt.etsy.com
This weekend only, the palette knife oil paintings in the shop are 50% off! Just use the coupon code "HALFOFF" at checkout. Sorry, but the custom pet portraits don't qualify for the sale. Coupon code expires Monday 4/11/16. Thanks, and happy shopping.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Farm Life Recently.

It's been awhile, but spring has had me busy. Started some seeds, found lots of wild critters, planted some fruit trees, bought some goats, and now I'm awaiting the arrival of the first calf of the season.
Rhubarb seedling poking through.

Salamander that was in the ground I was digging to plant some daffodils.

Crawdad, Tadpoles, and Salamander-tadpoles from the front pasture "swamp."

Peach and Apple Trees. We planted Plum too.

Our lovely barn.

New goat Daisy.

New goat Macy.

Husband put up a NetCam so I can check on Nanbert, the heifer, from my phone.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Playlist No. 21 Stay Off The Beaten Path

Image via Flickr Commons.

1. Stone Walls
Three Tall Pines
2.  Where Have All The Cowboys Gone
Paula Cole
3.  2 Heads
Coleman Hell
4.  Float On
Pickin' On Series, Iron Horse
5.  High & Wild
Angel Olsen
6.  Billions of Eyes
Lady Lamb
7.  Sonsick
San Fermin
8.  Strange Moon Rising
Smoke Fairies
9.  Houston Train

Houndmouth

Listen Via Spotify/Tumblr.