Boston

Taking Flight install

when my family and i first moved to the Boston area 3 years ago, my youngest daughter was finally old enough to go to preschool for a good portion of the day and i was feeling eager to put my energies into my art. i was in a new city, ready to explore what it had to offer me, but also to figure out what i had to offer it. 

i wasn't sure where the making of many many birds would take me, but i decided to go with it and hoped that something good would come of them. as with my previous installation 100 Cups Of Tea, i began to reuse stacks of my old manuscripts from my writing days.

"Taking Flight" began with Emily Dickinson's poem whose first line is: Hope is the thing with feathers-/ That perches in the soul-/And sings the tune without the words-/And never stops - at all -

those lines fed me when i often felt rather hopeless about finding my way on my journey. the birds began to symbolize for me my creative thoughts, trying to take flight. faltering, but hoping that one day they will take flight. i tried to capture the deeply satisfying feeling that would come over me whenever i see a flock of birds taking off into the sky. that hopefulness we all have as we embark on a new journey, changing course, opening ourselves to new experiences. over the years, the installation has come to mean many many things to me, but i think hope encompasses all those things for me.

so it was incredibly satisfying to see the birds go up yesterday at the Boston Center for the Arts. there were several hiccups during the install process and it took way longer than planned, but we did succeed. :) here is time lapse movie of the process. i'm sorry it is a little choppy, but we had to stop several times to fix some problem and figure out the next steps, etc. there were moments when i wasn't at all sure this would work! but it did. hope you enjoy:

here are some shots of the beautiful space that is the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts where the BCA Ball will take place on June 3, 2017. i hope to share more shots from the Ball when the lighting on the installation will be better/more interesting. but for now, these will have to do:

Dry Bones and The Breath

with the celebration of Easter this past weekend, i have ended another busy period of work. last year, i had created Thirst for Church of the Cross' Easter Vigil service. you can find my post on Thirst here.

this year, in addition to Thirst, i created two new pieces for the Vigil - Dry Bones and The Breath. Dry Bones is a piece i cut out of thick paper. light was shone on it and its shadow was projected onto my painting, The Breath, which was covered in a white cloth. Dry Bones was presented during the Ezekiel 37 reading. here is a photo i took during the service. the shadow piece is difficult to see, but i hope you get the idea:

after the Ezekiel 37 reading, the congregation sang the song, Dry Bones. during the song, the dancers went up to the painting and removed the covering over the painting to reveal The Breath. then we were led into the Zephaniah 3:12-20 reading. here is a photo of the painting:

The Breath, 2017, 48x72 inches, acrylic and paperclay on canvas

The Breath, 2017, 48x72 inches, acrylic and paperclay on canvas

details of The Breath

i will say that as an abstract painter, i worried a little about painting something so concrete as bones! i have to thank Chris Allison for loaning me his model of a human skull and for directing me to the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard Medical School. both sources were indispensable to me in the process.

i have refrained from interjecting my thoughts on Ezekiel 37 and talking about the artwork, in the hopes that you will find your own beauty in this very bizarre and wonderful passage from the Bible. to those of you who have already shared your thoughts to me about The Breath, i thank you. it means so much to me to know that i have moved you in some small way.

Highlights from Passage Through Blue

here is a video of the highlights from my BCA Residency, Passage Through Blue:

for those of you who weren't able to make it to a performance, i hope this gives you a glimpse of what i was working on. i would love to hear your thoughts about it. again, it was such a wonderful collaborative experience. i learned so much and hopefully grew as a result.

Upcoming Local Events

i have several events coming up in the month of April that i'd like to invite you to. i am listing the events here chronologically:

first up is an Artist Showcase Reception with ArtLINC Boston, "a local, artist-run organization that showcases area artists and connects them directly with buyers and patrons." below is the invite to the event. i have 4 pieces of art in the showcase.

i am also participating in this year's Brookline Open Studios. currently, you will find one of my paintings at Brookline Public Library Main Branch, 361 Washington Street, in Hunneman Hall on the 3rd floor, where the Preview Show is happening for Brookline Open Studios. the preview show highlights all the participating artists in the Open Studios. there will be a closing reception of the Preview Show on April 23, 1:00-3:30 pm.

and finally, i will be at 33a Harvard Street (3rd floor) for Brookline Open Studios. i will be there April 29-30, 11-5 each day. i plan to have some new and some old works for sale. some of the old works will be available for a discounted price, so if there's a piece you've been eyeing, come on out!

hope you can join me at one of these events in April! look forward to connecting with you!

Recap of Passage Through Blue and a review

edit: i meant to post this a week or two ago... sorry! but here is a recap of Passage Through Blue. i have also posted on my portfolio page images taken by Steve Wollkin of one of the performances.

 

i have spent most of this week feeling slightly off-kilter. comes with being intensely involved in a project. the performances of Passage Through Blue were amazing last weekend. the dancers of Continuum Dance Project were incredible - it was deeply satisfying to watch them. and many thanks to you that came out to the shows. from your responses to me, i know that you left feeling exhilarated and moved and inspired. i'm so glad you were able to share in this wonderful experiment.

i'm going to leave you with some photos i took throughout the rehearsals and of a review of Passage Through Blue which you can find here.

Changes and a new project

i apologize for being so silent here for so long. so much has happened in my personal life and in America's national life and i have had a hard time kicking the melancholy that threatens to set in. for those of you following me on FaceBook and Instagram know already that i am preparing for a move out of my studio. that will take place next week, at the end of the month. i am sad to be leaving the space in which i have grown so much and in which i created many new works, but i am also looking forward to a new chapter in my life. my family is moving into a bigger home and i will have a small room to use as a studio. while i am sad to be leaving behind a community in the Wareham studio, i hope to stay in touch and also to build a new community in Brookline. i am already meeting other artists in my neighborhood and looking forward to what those connections and relationships will bring about.

while packing and prepping for our move, i am thinking and planning in my head and in my sketchbook for a new project that will take place in January/February 2017. i am extremely excited for this project, as it draws on my love of dance, movement, music and art. i am collaborating on this new project with Fernadina Chan, a choreographer and friend i met through my ballet class. we have received a grant from the Boston Center for the Arts to use their space and create a new performance piece. you can read more about the project here. i am really excited about all the possibilities this project holds. really, it could go anywhere! i am particularly looking forward to creating a space for the dancers to move and interact with and a space that will transport the audience.

to prepare myself, i've been listening to Stravinsky's Elegy for viola as it might be part of the music for the performance. i've been listening with my eyes closed and putting pen to paper and allowing my hand move where it will with the music. afterwards, i fill in various spaces on the page with colours. here are some pages from my sketchbook that are the results of this experiment.

IMG_8495.JPG
this one was actually drawn with my eyes open, just so i could see what my hand would do if my eyes were open. the lines are much more even and self-conscious i think.

this one was actually drawn with my eyes open, just so i could see what my hand would do if my eyes were open. the lines are much more even and self-conscious i think.

why am i doing this? i'm hoping to loosen up my mind a bit and marrying my mark making with music. i'm hoping this will help me as i think about creating a space for movement.

Sketchbook pages

hello! hope you are having a great start to the week! it's raining quite a bit today here in the Boston area, which is a good thing as it has been much too dry, but that means i'm staying home today instead of biking to the studio. which is also not a bad thing, as i have lots to catch up on at home, like updating the blog and the website. :)

as you know, i'm getting ready for the South End Open Studios on September 24-25. i'm hoping to have a set of abstract paintings ready that were inspired by a family camping trip we took over the summer to Acadia National Park. i've been sharing some of the sketchbook pages from my trip on Instagram but i wanted to share them here as well. i hope to share some of the process photos of the larger pieces that i'm working on in the next few weeks leading up to the open studios. i will also have available my watercolor paintings of roses and peonies and have framing options for those. and of course, my miniature bird pieces will be available as well.

here are some recent pages from my sketchbook and i look forward to sharing more about the larger paintings born out of these soon. 

inspired by the pink granite rocks of Acadia

inspired by the pink granite rocks of Acadia

inspired by the beautiful lichen

inspired by the beautiful lichen

South End Open Studios

hello, friends,

it has been WAY too long! the summer has been full and has flown by. i haven't been able to spend much time here or at the studio as i've been busy hanging with the kids, but school starts next week and there's lots going on in September that i have to get ready for.

one of the things i'm prepping for is the South End Open Studios happening the weekend of September 24-25. i'm super excited to be a part of this large celebration that happens every year in Boston's South End. below is some info written up by a fellow artist in my building. i hope you will mark your calendars and stop by! 

BOSTON’S SOUTH END, MA (August 2, 2016) –

Arts and culture are alive in Boston with no better example than the 30th annual South End (SoWa) Open Studios, September 24-25, 11am-6pm, when the public is invited to visit the inner sanctum of working artists at the Wareham Street Studios, 35-59 Wareham Street between Harrison and Albany. This weekend celebration of art is organized by United South End Artists, a membership association supporting neighborhood artists. Wareham Street Studios is a privately owned complex of truly affordable work-only studio spaces occupied by artists creatively working in a wide range of mediums including painting, works on paper, ceramics, photography, textiles and mixed-media.

Many of the Wareham Street artists have been in the building for decades such as painter Michael Costello located on the 4th floor of 35 Wareham Street. “I have painted on Wareham Street for almost 30 years and have watched a vibrant art neighborhood whittled down to a handful of buildings such as ours which continue to be a refuge for the making of art in the South End. Open Studios is the rare chance a collector has to see art in the environment in which it is birthed.”

The Wareham Street collection of active studio spaces is open to the pubic on only the most seldom of occasions, and many visitors have remarked at the high quality and one-of-a-kind authenticity of the art on view. 20 artists will be opening their studio doors on Wareham Street this year to welcome art enthusiasts, collectors, and the curious. Included in this select group are Clint Baclawski, Jessica Burko, Michael Costello, Anne Foresman, Tristan Govignon, Heather Greenwood, Will Howcroft, Soyoung L. Kim, Rose Leitner, Maria Malatesta, Mary ann Obrien, Wendy Seller, Nancy Seymour, Karen Lee Sobol, Katherine Spencer, Annie Zeybekoglu, Sara Zielinski. Celebrate SoWa’s rich and diverse arts community and go home with a piece of locally made art.

Week 3 for Limited Edition 13

hope you had a wonderful weekend! we had a gorgeous week full of blue skies and warm sunshine this past week and the colors have definitely translated into the work i made for this week. which is funny because the themes i was tackling weren't as happy as the colors. but i think in many ways, that's life. and that's definitely motherhood. we are constantly carrying both the joy and the pain, the good and the bad.

here are Limited Edition, Nos. 7, 8, and 9:

13, No. 7 (Patience) - ah, patience! such a difficult virtue to foster in an impatient heart like mine! the thought of waiting for years, decades, is something i never want to embrace. but that is something i have had to learn as a mother. i remember the first years after the birth of my first daughter - i thought the sleepless nights would never end, i thought i would never get anything accomplished during the day besides nursing and changing diapers. and even now, with the kids getting older, i sometimes wonder if my girls will ever learn to play without bickering. but i am older now, and i hope slightly wiser and more patient. these are seasons. like this dead looking tree. it is just a season. one day, it will leaf and bloom. the blue skies promise that. but in the mean time, i wait.

13, No. 8 (What the Tide Brought In) - last summer, we explored many different beaches in New England. my girls love to beach comb, so each time we arrived at a beach, they would immediately set out to see what the beach had to offer. so often, the girls were terribly disappointed, esp the youngest, that there weren't any sand dollars or "special" shells. so you can imagine the excitement and happiness on the day when there were numerous sand dollars and scallop shells to fill the bucket with! it would be nice if we could find treasures every time we visited the beach, but then they would no longer be gifts. i wish every day sparkled like a diamond, but most days are mundane, most days, we are working hard to get by. but we mustn't stop looking because we want to be ready for that day when the diamonds do get washed ashore! we will take whatever the tide brings in because when it brings in treasures, they are that much more precious.

13, No. 9 (Letting Go) - i've been thinking more about this as my kids get older. finding that ability to letting go of your children to grow up to be their own people, yet at the same time, being here for them always. i've also been thinking about some of my hopes and dreams for life, how i need to let them go. disappointments and hurts that i sometimes hold onto tightly, i've got to let them go. i try to remind myself that there is good in letting go.

i'm looking forward to another week of tackling the theme of motherhood! please feel free to comment and share your own stories of motherhood. you know it does us all good to share one another's stories. these are now available on Etsy.

have a wonderful week!

A post for Friday the 13th

i couldn't NOT write a post about "13" on a Friday the 13th, now, could i? ;)

we've had some BEAUTIFUL weather here this past week. lots of sunshine and almost summer-like temperatures. i have really enjoyed my bike rides to the studio. my girls and i have been spending time outside after school, climbing trees, sitting in the sun, playing in the park. and i think all of this has translated into the pieces i've been working on this past week. so here's a shot of what i've been looking at this week and glimpses of the pieces i will release next week for Week 3 of Limited Edition series 13:

have a fabulous weekend, friends! join me here next monday!

Installing "Taking Flight"

on the evening of November 6, the building my art studio is located in will be hosting a building-wide open studio.  i will post the details about it soon, but in the mean time, i wanted to share with you a short time-lapse movie i made as i was prepping my studio for the open studio. this is a small portion of my "Taking Flight" installation:

hope you can plan to join me on November 6th - there will be many many artists opening their studios that evening.  it should be a fun evening filled with art!

and as always, if you'd like to keep up with my goings on, please subscribe to this blog by clicking on the subscribe icon in the bottom left corner. thanks so much!

End of Summer

it is hard to believe that summer vacation has ended and the kids are all back at school.  the past couple of weeks have been busy with adjusting to waking up early, to new school schedule and new friends and teachers.  so far though, everyone seems to be doing ok, including me.  my youngest daughter started kindergarten this year and i wasn't sure how i would feel.  but you know what?  we are both doing really well and we were both really ready for this!!  time for a new chapter in my life.

i am currently working towards an open studio in November.  my building is hosting it, so many of the artists in my building will be participating and we hope to put on a good opening.  i will have more details in the coming weeks.

here are some photos from our various outings this summer.  we truly loved exploring the new england area this summer.  we thoroughly loved the many diverse beaches and enjoyed many of the museums Boston has to offer.  i can't believe it has already been a year since we moved here.  and now, i'm looking forward to what this second year will bring for our family.  thank you for joining me on our journey here and keeping up with our goings on.  what are some memories from your summer?

giant inflated bunnies in downtown Boston

giant inflated bunnies in downtown Boston

taking the ferry out to Spectacle Island

taking the ferry out to Spectacle Island

view of Boston from ferry

view of Boston from ferry

fun clouds...please excuse my dusty camera lens...

fun clouds...please excuse my dusty camera lens...


Studio Space

it has been a while - i apologize!  life has been full and hectic with many end-of-school-year activities for the kids.  and added to that busyness, i just moved into a studio space that i'm sharing with another painter!!  really excited about the work space and looking forward to producing work in that space.  the studio is in a large building in the SOWA area, the South End of Boston, that houses many artists studio spaces.

i am biking to work now, and what can i say? i am no Lance Armstrong and can't even begin to aspire to that. :)  i'm more like a little old lady hobbling along, but i'm hoping i'll get better at this after my body gets over the shock of the distance i have to cover on my bike.

here's the view from the street of my building.  will hopefully be able to share with you some new work i produce there. :)

There's something special about performing...

i'd known that, ever since i first set foot on a stage as a child, but it's been a LONG time since then.  this past saturday, i had the wonderful opportunity to share my shadow puppet piece on the stage along with some really wonderful, talented, creative puppeteers.  and what can i say?  i was nervous, excited and had so much fun, all at the same time!!  it was a great experience to be able to share my work (and many many thanks to those of you who came out to see my work!! xoxo) but it was equally wonderful to be backstage with all the other performers and to feel everyone's creative energy.  i felt so inspired, esp as i got to sit in the audience for the second half of the show.  there were so many diverse voices and so many different ways of presenting the work.  and then the overall atmosphere was so special - because the puppet theater is rather small, the evening felt very intimate and special.  thank you to Puppet Showplace Theater and everyone involved in putting the Slam together!

unfortunately, i was too distracted to take any photos at the Slam - sorry!  however, i would like to share some photos of the beautiful spring we have been having here in Boston.  trees are exploding with flowers everywhere! it's hard to believe we had so much snow not that long ago.

An Evening with Wangechi Mutu

one of the great things about moving to Boston is that i have opportunities to tap into the many schools that make up this city.  earlier this week, i attended a lecture hosted by MassArt.  the speaker was Wangechi Mutu, an artist whose work i have admired for some time.  she is a couple of years older than me and i often imagine perhaps her paths and mine crossed during our childhood in Nairobi. :)  her works have often felt familiar yet strange to me.  they feel very organic and fluid, qualities that i strive to achieve in my own work.  it was wonderful to hear Wangechi Mutu talk, especially about her inspirations and the motivations behind some of her pieces.  it helped to add depth to my understanding of her work.  she has a beautiful website which you can find here.

below is one of her works, titled: My Strength Lies, 2006.

i have a new project in the works.  it is again an evidence of the opportunities that surround me.  you might be interested to know that it's a medium where i am able to marry my writing with my art. :)  will share soon!

A Sweet Spot

Last week, my girls had their February break.  we decided this year, after the ridiculous amounts of snow we have been getting in the Boston area, we must escape for a short bit.  so we made our way to San Clemente, CA.

 

San Clemente Beach and pier

San Clemente Beach and pier

there was a lot of beach time and lots of boogie boarding, even though the water was freezing cold! the weather was perfect, making our getaway truly sweet and enjoyable.  San Clemente has now become one of our favourite places on the west coast.

we even managed to squeeze in a visit to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano.  the ruins were beautiful and there were even some fun activities for the children.  they made adobe bricks and panned for gold!

we returned home to even more snow - the mountains of snow grew while we were gone! we keep wondering how much longer the snow will fall...

Colours

Fall in Boston has truly been a glorious feast of colours.  here are some shots from my Instagram feed of what's been catching my eyes lately.  

But winter is coming... the days darken early and we have had some warnings of snow, but no snow yet to stick.  our days are filled with busyness.  i have started work on a new installation.  i hope to find a space for it soon, but in the mean time, i am busy tearing paper and putting them together with flour and water.  here are some shots of my works in progress:

have a wonderful week, friends!